Fungal Community Structure as an Indicator of Soil Agricultural Management Effects in the Cerrado

<div><p>ABSTRACT Forest-to-agriculture conversion and soil management practices for soybean cropping are frequently performed in the Cerrado (Brazilian tropical savanna). However, the effects of these practices on the soil microbial communities are still unknown. We evaluated and compared the fungal community structure in soil from soybean cropland with soil under native Cerrado vegetation at different times of the year in the Tocantins State. Soil samples were collected in two periods after planting (December) and in two periods during the soybean reproductive growth stage (February). Concomitantly, soil samples were collected from an area under native Cerrado vegetation surrounding the agricultural area. The soil DNA was analyzed using a fingerprinting method termed Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Space Analysis (ARISA) to assess the fungal community structure in the soil. Differences in the fungal community structure in the soil were found when comparing soybean cropland with the native vegetation (R = 0.932 for sampling 1 and R = 0.641 for sampling 2). Changes in the fungal community structure after management practices for soybean planting in Cerrado areas were related to changes in soil properties, mainly in copper, calcium, and iron contents, cation exchange capacity, base saturation, and calcium to magnesium ratio. These results show the changes in the fungal community structure in the soil as an effect of agricultural soil management in Cerrado vegetation in the state of Tocantins.</p></div>