Shifts in the bacterial community composition along deep soil profiles in monospecific and mixed stands of Eucalyptus grandis and Acacia mangium

Our knowledge of the rhizosphere bacterial communities in deep soils and the role of Eucalyptus and Acacia on the structure of these communities remains very limited. In this study, we targeted the bacterial community along a depth profile (0 to 800 cm) and compared community structure in monospecific or mixed plantations of Acacia mangium and Eucalyptus grandis. We applied quantitative PCR (qPCR) and sequence the V6 region of the 16S rRNA gene to characterize composition of bacterial communities. We identified a decrease in bacterial abundance with soil depth, and differences in community patterns between monospecific and mixed cultivations. Sequence analysis indicated a prevalent effect of soil depth on bacterial communities in the mixed plant cultivation system, and a remarkable differentiation of bacterial communities in areas solely cultivated with Eucalyptus. The groups most influenced by soil depth were Proteobacteria and Acidobacteria (more frequent in samples between 0 and 300 cm). The predominant bacterial groups differentially displayed in the monospecific stands of Eucalyptus were Firmicutes and Proteobacteria. Our results suggest that the addition of an N2-fixing tree in a monospecific cultivation system modulates bacterial community composition even at a great depth. We conclude that co-cultivation systems may represent a key strategy to improve soil resources and to establish more sustainable cultivation of Eucalyptus in Brazil.