Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Long-Term Effects of Soil Remediation with Willow Short Rotation Coppice on Biogeographic Pattern of Microbial Functional Genes

Liu, Wenjing; Xue, Kai; Hu, Runpeng; Zhou, Jizhong; Van Nostrand, Joy D.; Dimitrou, Jannis; Giagnoni, Laura; Renella, Giancarlo


Short rotation coppice (SRC) is increasingly being adopted for bioenergy production, pollution remediation and land restoration. However, its long-term effects on soil microbial communities are poorly characterized. Here, we studied soil microbial functional genes and their biogeographic pattern under SRC with willow trees as compared to those under permanent grassland (C). GeoChip analysis showed a lower functional gene diversity in SRC than in C soil, whereas microbial ATP and respiration did not change. The SRC soil had lower relative abundances of microbial genes encoding for metal(-oid) resistance, antibiotic resistance and stress-related proteins. This indicates a more benign habitat under SRC for microbial communities after relieving heavy metal stress, consistent with the lower phytoavailability of some metals (i.e., As, Cd, Ni and Zn) and higher total organic carbon, NO3--N and P concentrations. The microbial taxa-area relationship was valid in both soils, but the space turnover rate was higher under SRC within 0.125 m(2), which was possibly linked to a more benign environment under SRC, whereas similar values were reached beyond thisarea. Overall, we concluded that SRC management can be considered as a phytotechnology that ameliorates the habitat for soil microorganisms, owing to TOC and nutrient enrichment on the long-term.


functional gene diversity; short rotation coppice phytotechnology; soil microbial community; soil pollution; phytoremediation; biogeographic pattern

Published in

2022, volume: 10, number: 1, article number: 140
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Liu, Wenjing
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, CAS
Xue, Kai
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Xue, Kai
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, CAS
Hu, Runpeng
Smith College
Zhou, Jizhong
University of Oklahoma - Norman
Van Nostrand, Joy D.
University of Oklahoma - Norman
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology
Giagnoni, Laura
University of Brescia
Renella, Giancarlo
University of Padua

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land

UKÄ Subject classification

Soil Science

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)