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Maintaining grass coverage increases methane uptake in Amazonian pastures, with a reduction of methanogenic archaea in the rhizosphere


Fonseca de Souza, Leandro; Alvarez, Dasiel Obregon; Domeignoz-Horta, Luiz A; Gomes, Fabio Vitorino; de Souza Almeida, Cassio; Merloti, Luis Fernando; Mendes, Lucas William; Andreote, Fernando Dini; Bohannan, Brendan J M; Mazza Rodrigues, Jorge L; Nüsslein, Klaus; Tsai, Siu Mui (2022). Maintaining grass coverage increases methane uptake in Amazonian pastures, with a reduction of methanogenic archaea in the rhizosphere. Science of the Total Environment, 838:156225.

Abstract

Cattle ranching is the largest driver of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. The rainforest-to-pasture conversion affects the methane cycle in upland soils, changing it from sink to source of atmospheric methane. However, it remains unknown if management practices could reduce the impact of land-use on methane cycling. In this work, we evaluated how pasture management can regulate the soil methane cycle either by maintaining continuous grass coverage on pasture soils, or by liming the soil to amend acidity. Methane fluxes from forest and pasture soils were evaluated in moisture-controlled greenhouse experiments with and without grass cover (Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) or liming. We also assessed changes in the soil microbial community structure of both bare (bulk) and rhizospheric pasture soils through high throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, and quantified the methane cycling microbiota by their respective marker genes related to methane generation (mcrA) or oxidation (pmoA). The experiments used soils from eastern and western Amazonia, and concurrent field studies allowed us to confirm greenhouse data. The presence of a grass cover not only increased methane uptake by up to 35% in pasture soils, but also reduced the abundance of the methane-producing community. In the grass rhizosphere this reduction was up to 10-fold. Methane-producing archaea belonged to the genera Methanosarcina sp., Methanocella sp., Methanobacterium sp., and Rice Cluster I. Further, we showed that soil liming to increasing pH compromised the capacity of forest and pasture soils to be a sink for methane, and instead converted formerly methane-consuming forest soils to become methane sources in only 40-80 days. Liming reduced the relative abundance of Beijerinckiacea family in forest soils, which account for many known methanotrophs. Our results demonstrate that pasture management that maintains grass coverage can mitigate soil methane emissions, compared to bare (bulk) pasture soil.

Abstract

Cattle ranching is the largest driver of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. The rainforest-to-pasture conversion affects the methane cycle in upland soils, changing it from sink to source of atmospheric methane. However, it remains unknown if management practices could reduce the impact of land-use on methane cycling. In this work, we evaluated how pasture management can regulate the soil methane cycle either by maintaining continuous grass coverage on pasture soils, or by liming the soil to amend acidity. Methane fluxes from forest and pasture soils were evaluated in moisture-controlled greenhouse experiments with and without grass cover (Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) or liming. We also assessed changes in the soil microbial community structure of both bare (bulk) and rhizospheric pasture soils through high throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, and quantified the methane cycling microbiota by their respective marker genes related to methane generation (mcrA) or oxidation (pmoA). The experiments used soils from eastern and western Amazonia, and concurrent field studies allowed us to confirm greenhouse data. The presence of a grass cover not only increased methane uptake by up to 35% in pasture soils, but also reduced the abundance of the methane-producing community. In the grass rhizosphere this reduction was up to 10-fold. Methane-producing archaea belonged to the genera Methanosarcina sp., Methanocella sp., Methanobacterium sp., and Rice Cluster I. Further, we showed that soil liming to increasing pH compromised the capacity of forest and pasture soils to be a sink for methane, and instead converted formerly methane-consuming forest soils to become methane sources in only 40-80 days. Liming reduced the relative abundance of Beijerinckiacea family in forest soils, which account for many known methanotrophs. Our results demonstrate that pasture management that maintains grass coverage can mitigate soil methane emissions, compared to bare (bulk) pasture soil.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Environmental Engineering
Physical Sciences > Environmental Chemistry
Physical Sciences > Waste Management and Disposal
Physical Sciences > Pollution
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pollution, Waste Management and Disposal, Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Engineering
Language:English
Date:1 September 2022
Deposited On:26 Feb 2023 11:16
Last Modified:29 Jan 2024 02:50
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0048-9697
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.156225
PubMed ID:35623507
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