Shifting Cyanobacterial Diversity in Response to Agricultural Soils Associated with Dust Emission

Itzhak Katra, Shimrit Laor, Nitzan Swet, Ariel Kushmaro, Eitan Ben-Dov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dust emission to the atmosphere from wind-eroded soils has many environmental impacts, including soil degradation and air pollution. Various agricultural land uses alter the topsoil properties and thus affect dust particle characteristics as well as loading of biological components into the air. In the present work, the richness and abundance of bacterial communities in topsoils of semiarid loess that are associated with dust emissions were studied by high throughput sequencing methods and were found to be affected by land uses: conventional agriculture, organic agriculture alternating with grazing, uncontrolled grazing activities and natural nondisturbed soil. Moreover, bacterial diversity was shown to be influenced by the contents of sand, CaCO3 and particulate matter in the topsoil. Of all bacteria taxa detected, cyanobacteria were found to be most strongly influenced by land use: Natural and grazing lands were highly abundant with cyanobacterial reads (about 33%), whereas conventional agriculture lands and organic agriculture lands alternating with grazing contained only 7% cyanobacteria. When examining macro-aggregates in two soils (natural and grazing), approximately 44% of reads were found to be affiliated to cyanobacteria, whereas in micro-aggregates, their concentration decreased to about 11%. Intensive agricultural use leads to a reduction in soil aggregation and significantly decreases cyanobacteria abundance, in turn increasing dust emission potential and loss of topsoil materials to the atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)878-886
Number of pages9
JournalLand Degradation and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 10 Oct 2016


  • aeolian processes
  • biological soil crusts
  • cyanobacteria
  • semiarid
  • soil degradation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Development
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Soil Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Shifting Cyanobacterial Diversity in Response to Agricultural Soils Associated with Dust Emission'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this