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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2019, Vol. 18 Issue (9): 2006-2018    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(18)62114-8
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Effects of maize-soybean relay intercropping on crop nutrient uptake and soil bacterial community
FU Zhi-dan1, 2, ZHOU Li3, CHEN Ping1, 2, DU Qing1, 2, PANG Ting1, 2, SONG Chun2, WANG Xiao-chun1, 2, LIU Wei-guo1, 2, YANG Wen-yu1, 2, YONG Tai-wen1, 2 
1 College of Agronomy, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, P.R.China
2 Sichuan Engineering Research Center for Crop Strip Intercropping System/Key Laboratory of Crop Ecophysiology and Farming System in Southwest China, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Chengdu 611130, P.R.China
3 Yibin Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Yibin 644000, P.R.China
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Maize-soybean relay intercropping is an effective approach to improve the crop yield and nutrient use efficiency, which is widely practiced by farmers in southwest of China.  To elucidate the characteristics of different planting patterns on crop nutrient uptake, soil chemical properties, and soil bacteria community in maize-soybean relay intercropping systems, we conducted a field experiment in 2015–2016 with single factor treatments, including monoculture maize (MM), monoculture soybean (MS), maize-soybean relay intercropping (IMS), and fallow (CK).  The results showed that the N uptake of maize grain increased in IMS compared with MM.  Compared with MS, the yield and uptake of N, P, and K of soybean grain were increased by 25.5, 24.4, 9.6, and 22.4% in IMS, respectively, while the N and K uptakes in soybean straw were decreased in IMS.  The soil total nitrogen, available phosphorus, and soil organic matter contents were significantly higher in IMS than those of the corresponding monocultures and CK.  Moreover, the soil protease, soil urease, and soil nitrate reductase activities in IMS were higher than those of the corresponding monocultures and CK.  The phyla Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Chloroflexi, and Actinobacteria dominated in all treatments.  Shannon’s index in IMS was higher than that of the corresponding monocultures and CK.  The phylum Proteobacteria proportion was positively correlated with maize soil organic matter and soybean soil total nitrogen content, respectively.  These results indicated that the belowground interactions increased the crop nutrient (N and P) uptake and soil bacterial community diversity, both of which contributed to improved soil nutrient management for legume-cereal relay intercropping systems.
Received: 11 May 2018   Accepted: 31 August 2019
Fund: The research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31671625, 31271669) and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFD0300202).
Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence YONG Tai-wen, Tel: +86-28-86290960, Fax: +86-28-86290870, E-mail:   
About author:  FU Zhi-dan, E-mail:;

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FU Zhi-dan, ZHOU Li, CHEN Ping, DU Qing, PANG Ting, SONG Chun, WANG Xiao-chun, LIU Wei-guo, YANG Wen-yu, YONG Tai-wen. 2019. Effects of maize-soybean relay intercropping on crop nutrient uptake and soil bacterial community. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 18(9): 2006-2018.

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