Identifying biological indicators of soil health using metagenomic analysis of soil under different grain cropping systems

Richard Hogue, researcher

Richard Hogue

Researcher, Ph.D.

418 643-2380
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Contact Richard Hogue

Description

Agronomic, environmental, physical, chemical, and biological parameters are the main parameters used to determine soil health and agrosystem sustainability. However, the biological parameters that currently used are not accurate enough. Recent advances in biological and genomic analysis techniques have improved the affordability of detailed structural and functional characterizations of numerous biological communities that play essential roles in soil health and agroecosystem sustainability. The project was aimed at identifying and incorporating biological indicators into decision support tools used to assist producers and agroenvironmental regulatory bodies seeking to preserve soil productivity and use sustainable production systems. The project was a major innovation that enhanced our knowledge of factors that disrupt cropping programs and farming practices in Québec grain crops.

Objective(s)

  • Conduct a detailed structural and functional characterization of biological soil communities (bacteria, fungi, mychorrhiza, and microfauna) in long-term plots under three field crop production systems to compare variables related to soil tillage, crop rotations, fertilization programs, and handling of crop residues.
  • Incorporate biological indicators into decision support models based on agronomic, climatic, environmental, physical, and chemical indicators applied to the three production systems

From 2016 to 2018

Project duration

Field crops

Activity areas

Soil health

Service

DNA sequencing can be used to inventory all the organisms living in a soil sample.

Partners

Centre de recherche sur les grains | Université Laval | Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada | Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec | Growing Forward 2 : Innov’Action programme

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