Shifting Cyanobacterial Diversity in Response to Agricultural Soils Associated with Dust Emission Academic Article uri icon


  • Dust emission to the atmosphere from wind-eroded soils has many environmental impacts, including soil degradation and air pollution. Various agricultural land uses alter the topsoil properties and thus affect dust particle characteristics as well as loading of biological components into the air. In the present work, the richness and abundance of bacterial communities in topsoils of semi-arid loess that are associated with dust emissions were studied by high throughput sequencing methods, and were found to be affected by land uses: conventional agriculture, organic agriculture alternating with grazing, uncontrolled grazing activities and natural non disturbed soil. Moreover bacterial diversity was shown to be influenced by the contents of sand, CaCO3, and particulate matter in the topsoil. Of all bacteria taxa detected, cyanobacteria were found to be most strongly influenced by land use: natural and grazing lands were highly abundant with cyanobacterial reads (about 33%) whereas conventional agriculture lands and organic agriculture lands alternating with grazing contained only 7% cyanobacteria. When examining macro-aggregates in two soils (natural and grazing), approximately 44% of reads were found to be affiliated to cyanobacteria, whereas in micro-aggregates their concentration decreased to about 11%. Intensive agricultural use leads to a reduction in soil aggregation and significantly decreases cyanobacteria abundance, in turn increasing dust emission potential and loss of topsoil materials to the atmosphere. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017