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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2017, Vol. 16 Issue (10): 2206-2214    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(17)61698-8
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Effects of seven different companion plants on cucumber productivity, soil chemical characteristics and Pseudomonas community
CHANG Chun-ling*, FU Xue-peng*, ZHOU Xin-gang, GUO Mei-yu, WU Feng-zhi
Department of Horticulture, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin 150030, P.R.China
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Abstract  Companion cropping can influence cucumber productivity by altering soil chemical characteristics and microbial communities. However, how these alterations affect the growth of cucumber is still unknown. In this study, seven different plant species were selected as companion plants for testing their effects on cucumber productivity. The effects of different companion plants on changes in soil chemical properties such as electrical conductivity (EC) and contents of essential nutrients as well as the structure and abundance of the soil Pseudomonas community were evaluated. The results showed a higher cucumber yield in the wheat/cucumber companion system than that in the cucumber monocultured and other companion cropping systems. The lowest phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) contents in the soil were found in the cucumber monocultured system, and the highest NO3+-N and NH4+-N contents were observed in the rye/cucumber companion system. PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and real-time PCR analysis showed that the trifolium/cucumber companion system increased the diversity of the soil Pseudomonas community, while the chrysanthemum/cucumber companion system increased its abundance. Interestingly, plant-soil feedback trials revealed that inoculating the soil of the wheat/cucumber companion system increased the growth of cucumber seedlings. In conclusion, the effects of different companion plants on cucumber productivity, soil chemical characteristics and the soil Pseudomonas community were different, and wheat was a more suitable companion plant for increasing cucumber productivity. In addition, the altered microbial community caused by companion cropping with wheat contributed to increased cucumber productivity.
Keywords:  cucumber        companion plants        soil chemical characteristics       Pseudomonas community  
Received: 26 October 2016   Accepted:

This study was supported by the earmarked fund for the China Agriculture Research System (CARS-25), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31471917).

Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence WU Feng-zhi, Tel: +86-451-55190278, E-mail:    
About author:  CHANG Chun-ling, E-mail:; FU Xue-peng, E-mail:;

Cite this article: 

CHANG Chun-ling, FU Xue-peng, ZHOU Xin-gang, GUO Mei-yu, WU Feng-zhi. 2017. Effects of seven different companion plants on cucumber productivity, soil chemical characteristics and Pseudomonas community. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 16(10): 2206-2214.

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