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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 rhizosphereChickpea rhizosphereBulk soilWheat rhizosphereChickpea rhizosphereLSD
Rhizosphere soil pH
 Sterilised6.6a6.7a4.5b6.8a6.6a4.4b0.7
 Non-sterilised6.7a6.8a5.9ab6.6a6.7a5.3b0.8
Microbial number
 Bacteria (copy number × 106 g−1 soil)6032a6332a3760b2490c2900c3036c548
 Fungi (copy number × 106 g−1 soil)50b60a22c20c26c22c10
 Bacteria:Fungi124a107a195a136a122a149ans
Beta-diversity (Bray-Curtis distance between wheat and chickpea rhizosphere)
 OTUs 0.2384b 0.3681a0.0222
 Genes 0.2689b 0.4107a0.0025
Alpha-diversity (Shannon index)
 OTUs5.870a5.868a5.820a5.319c5.382bc5.410b0.069
 Genes14.521b14.564a14.501b14.464c14.465c14.379d0.018