Ellen-Ashley Williams, Prairie View A&M University

Cover Crop Soil Microbiota

Abstract: Cultivating fruits and vegetables is an essential part of agriculture and human life. Cover crops are used to optimize the soil that grows these crops by adding nitrogen to soil, increase organic matter to improve soil health, reduce erosion, provide weed control, manage nutrients, and to conserve soil moisture. Cover crops can increase yields and save farmers money. The aim of the present work was to assess the impact of different cover crop treatments on soil microbiota profiles compared with no treatment controls. Nine total treatments (winter wheat, winter rye, crimson clover and hairy vetch either alone or in paired combinations) and a control were used. These treatments included three replications, thus giving a total of 27 plots. Five soil samples were collected from each plot using a soil sample probe. From those 27 plots we collected 5 samples each for a total of 135 samples. Samples were then stored in a -80°C freezer. On the day of DNA extraction, samples were thawed, mixed well and 0.250 gram of each soil sample was used to isolate DNA using PowerLyzer® PowerSoil® DNA Isolation Kit (Qiagen). NanoDrop 2000 was used to obtain the DNA concentrations of the soil and also to assess the purity. Notable results include an average DNA concentration of 43.1 ng/µl (3.2-94.2 ng/µl). The 260/280 ratio average was 1.83 with a range of 1.47-1.95. The 260/230 ratio average was 1.51 with a range of 1.5-2.03. The extractions proved viable for all samples and we are now prepared for downstream applications such as 16S rRNA V4 Sequencing.

Presentation Author(s):
Ellen-Ashley Williams*

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