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Table 1 Chemical and biological properties of plant-soil niches. Measured traits include rhizosphere soil pH, microbial number and the diversity of microbial functions and taxa. OTU and gene were used as a basic unit to estimate diversity. Soil samples for the measurements were collected from the wheat and chickpea rhizosphere under + and − decaying root (+ and −DR). Bulk soil of −DR and rhizosphere of the decaying root were also sampled. The same letter within one row indicated no significant difference based on the least significant difference (LSD) at P < 0.05

From: The preceding root system drives the composition and function of the rhizosphere microbiome

  +DR −DR  
Detritusphere (decaying root) Wheat rhizosphere Chickpea rhizosphere Bulk soil Wheat rhizosphere Chickpea rhizosphere LSD
Rhizosphere soil pH
 Sterilised 6.6a 6.7a 4.5b 6.8a 6.6a 4.4b 0.7
 Non-sterilised 6.7a 6.8a 5.9ab 6.6a 6.7a 5.3b 0.8
Microbial number
 Bacteria (copy number × 106 g−1 soil) 6032a 6332a 3760b 2490c 2900c 3036c 548
 Fungi (copy number × 106 g−1 soil) 50b 60a 22c 20c 26c 22c 10
 Bacteria:Fungi 124a 107a 195a 136a 122a 149a ns
Beta-diversity (Bray-Curtis distance between wheat and chickpea rhizosphere)
 OTUs   0.2384b   0.3681a 0.0222
 Genes   0.2689b   0.4107a 0.0025
Alpha-diversity (Shannon index)
 OTUs 5.870a 5.868a 5.820a 5.319c 5.382bc 5.410b 0.069
 Genes 14.521b 14.564a 14.501b 14.464c 14.465c 14.379d 0.018