Links between ammonia oxidizer community structure, abundance, and nitrification potential in acidic soils

Huaiying Yao*, Yangmei Gao, Graeme W Nicol, Colin D Campbell, James I Prosser, Limei Zhang, Wenyan Han, Brajesh K Singh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

238 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ammonia oxidation is the first and rate-limiting step of nitrification and is performed by both ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and bacteria (AOB). However, the environmental drivers controlling the abundance, composition, and activity of AOA and AOB communities are not well characterized, and the relative importance of these two groups in soil nitrification is still debated. Chinese tea orchard soils provide an excellent system for investigating the long-term effects of low pH and nitrogen fertilization strategies. AOA and AOB abundance and community composition were therefore investigated in tea soils and adjacent pine forest soils, using quantitative PCR (qPCR), terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and sequence analysis of respective ammonia monooxygenase (amoA) genes. There was strong evidence that soil pH was an important factor controlling AOB but not AOA abundance, and the ratio of AOA to AOB amoA gene abundance increased with decreasing soil pH in the tea orchard soils. In contrast, T-RFLP analysis suggested that soil pH was a key explanatory variable for both AOA and AOB community structure, but a significant relationship between community abundance and nitrification potential was observed only for AOA. High potential nitrification rates indicated that nitrification was mainly driven by AOA in these acidic soils. Dominant AOA amoA sequences in the highly acidic tea soils were all placed within a specific clade, and one AOA genotype appears to be well adapted to growth in highly acidic soils. Specific AOA and AOB populations dominated in soils at particular pH values and N content, suggesting adaptation to specific niches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4618-4625
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume77
Issue number13
Early online date13 May 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

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Nitrification
Archaea
Ammonia
oxidants
nitrification
acid soils
community structure
ammonia
Soil
Bacteria
soil
Tea
bacteria
tea
bacterium
orchard soils
soil pH
Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphisms
restriction fragment length polymorphism
orchard

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Links between ammonia oxidizer community structure, abundance, and nitrification potential in acidic soils. / Yao, Huaiying; Gao, Yangmei; Nicol, Graeme W; Campbell, Colin D; Prosser, James I; Zhang, Limei; Han, Wenyan; Singh, Brajesh K.

In: Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 77, No. 13, 07.2011, p. 4618-4625.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Yao, Huaiying ; Gao, Yangmei ; Nicol, Graeme W ; Campbell, Colin D ; Prosser, James I ; Zhang, Limei ; Han, Wenyan ; Singh, Brajesh K. / Links between ammonia oxidizer community structure, abundance, and nitrification potential in acidic soils. In: Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2011 ; Vol. 77, No. 13. pp. 4618-4625.
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