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https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2020-31
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2020-31
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: original research article 09 Jun 2020

Submitted as: original research article | 09 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal SOIL.

Microbial communities and their predictive functional profiles in arid soil of Saudi Arabia

Munawwar A. Khan1 and Shams T. Khan2 Munawwar A. Khan and Shams T. Khan
  • 1Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, College of Natural and Health Sciences, Zayed University, Dubai, 19282, UAE
  • 2Department of Agricultural Microbiology, Faculty of Agricultural Science, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, U.P, India

Abstract. Saudi Arabia has world's fifth largest desert and is the biggest importer of food and agricultural products. Understanding soil microbial communities is key to improving agricultural potential of the region. Therefore, soil microbial communities of semi-arid region of Abha known for agriculture and arid regions of Hafr Al-Batin and Muzahmiyah were studied using Illumina sequencing. Microbial community composition varied remarkably from other deserts and from one place to another. Highest diversity was found in rhizospheric soil of Muzahmiyah followed by Abha. Firmicutes, Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria were three main phyla detected in all the samples. Unlike other deserts, Bacteroidetes was not a major constituent and population of Firmicutes was quite high. Soils from agricultural region of Abha were significantly different from other samples in containing only 1 % Firmicutes and three to six times higher population of Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes, respectively. Presence of photosynthetic bacteria, ammonia oxidizers, and nitrogen fixers along with bacteria capable of surviving on simple and unlikely carbon sources like DMF was indicative of their survival strategies under harsh environmental condition. Functional inference using PICRUSt show abundance of genes involved in photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation. Microbial communities show greater similarity with hot Namib desert than with cold Antarctic desert.

Munawwar A. Khan and Shams T. Khan

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Munawwar A. Khan and Shams T. Khan

Munawwar A. Khan and Shams T. Khan

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Short summary
Soil is a renewable resource for purposes ranging from agriculture to mineralization. Soil microbiome plays vital roles in facilitating process like providing nutrients to plants, or their mobilization for plant uptake, consequently improving plant growth and productivity. Therefore, understanding of these microbial communities and their role in soil is crucial for exploring the possibility of using microbial community inoculants for improving desert soil fertility and agricultural potential.
Soil is a renewable resource for purposes ranging from agriculture to mineralization. Soil...
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