Régulations microbiennes et rhizosphériques des cycles du carbone et de l'azote dans les systèmes de culture conventionnels et innovants

Abstract : The presence of plants accelerates the decomposition of soil organic matter (SOM) through the supply of energy-rich compounds (rhizodeposits and litter) stimulating microorganisms; a phenomenon called rhizosphere priming effect (RPE). An increase of photosynthesis, supplying soil with rhizodeposited energy, could increase the RPE and soil nutrients offer. Recently, the SYMPHONY model coupling photosynthesis and soil microbial activities suggested an adjustment of the soil nutrient offer (delta mineralization-immobilization) to plant demand. However, the key role of photosynthesis in this offer-demand adjustment needs to be investigated experimentally.The general objective of the thesis is to study the role of interactions between photosynthesis and soil microbial activities in the regulation of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) fluxes of ecosystems. Three ecosystem types were studied: grassland, wheat monoculture and a new cropping system (NSC) where wheat and perennial grassland species were intercropped. We hypothesize that perennial species, through a continuous photosynthetic activity supplying microorganisms with energy over the year, are essential for offer-demand adjustment.Many technical challenges were overcame to build an experimental platform of 40 mesocosms under natural light and temperature. This platform allows to couple 13C labeling of plants, continuous CO2-exchange measurements, RPE, plant production, soil C storage, N mineralization-immobilization turnover and N leaching.This experimental platform allowed us to determine the contribution of RPE to C fluxes of ecosystems including net ecosystem production (NEP), gross primary production (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (ER) expressed in g C m-2 24h-1. We found positive linear relationships between (1) RPE and GPP and (2) RPE and aboveground biomass (AGB) (g C m-2). Using these relationships, the RPE can be predicted with the following equations: (...).We show an adjustment of soil N-offer to plant N-demand across seasons: a high photosynthetic activity (spring) is linked to high RPE and delta mineralization-immobilization of N whereas a low photosynthetic activity (autumn) is linked to low RPE and delta mineralization-immobilization of N. This adjustment was observed in grassland and NSC but not in wheat monoculture. Consistently, N leaching was high in wheat monoculture while it was almost null in grassland and NSC. After two years of establishment of the three ecosystems, the total aboveground production of the NSC was equivalent to the grassland, each being about twice as high as the wheat monoculture. These results confirm the importance of perennial species in the offer-demand adjustment of N.Our findings underline the importance of plant activities and rhizosphere processes in the regulation of ecosystems C N cycles. Using the proxies of rhizosphere processes (RPE, offer-demand adjustment) provided in the thesis, further studies could investigate these regulations in situ and at the global scale. The presence of photosynthetic and rhizospheric activities over the year are essential for offer-demand adjustment of nutrients leading to high primary production, closing nutrient cycles and SOM storage. These findings offer the opportunity to build new cropping systems such as the wheat-perennial species studied, with high agro-environmental performances.
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Camille Cros. Régulations microbiennes et rhizosphériques des cycles du carbone et de l'azote dans les systèmes de culture conventionnels et innovants. Sciences agricoles. Université Clermont Auvergne, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019CLFAC005⟩. ⟨tel-02163770⟩

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