The relationship between microbial community structure and functional stability, tested experimentally in an upland pasture soil

B S Griffiths, H L Kuan, K Ritz, L A Glover, A E McCaig, C Fenwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Soil collected from an upland pasture was manipulated experimentally in ways shown previously to alter microbial community structure. One set of soil was subjected to chloroform fumigation for 0, 0.5, 2, or 24 h and the other was sterilised by gamma-irradiation and inoculated with a 10(-2), 10(-4), 10(-6), or 10(-8) dilution of a soil suspension prepared from unsterilized soil. Following incubation for 8 months, to allow for the stabilization of microbial biomass and activity, the resulting microbial community structure (determined by PCR-DGGE of bacterial specific amplification products of total soil DNA) was assessed. In addition, the functional stability (defined here as the resistance and resilience of short-term decomposition of plant residues to a transient heat or a persistent copper perturbation) was determined. Changes in the active bacterial population following perturbation (determined by RT-PCR-DGGE of total soil RNA) were also monitored. The manipulations resulted in distinct shifts in microbial community structure as shown by PCR-DGGE profiles, but no significant decreases in the number of bands. These shifts in microbial community structure were associated with a reduction in functional stability. The clear correlation between altered microbial community structure and functional stability observed in this upland pasture soil was not evident when the same protocols were applied to soils in other studies. RT-PCR-DGGE profiles only detected a shift in the active bacterial population following heat, but not copper, perturbation. We conclude that the functional stability of decomposition is related to specific components of the microbial community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-113
Number of pages10
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Volume47
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Keywords

  • GRADIENT GEL-ELECTROPHORESIS
  • ECOSYSTEM FUNCTION RELATIONSHIP
  • 16S RIBOSOMAL-RNA
  • MOLECULAR ANALYSIS
  • SPECIES-DIVERSITY
  • BIODIVERSITY
  • BIOMASS
  • FUMIGATION
  • GENES
  • DNA

Cite this

The relationship between microbial community structure and functional stability, tested experimentally in an upland pasture soil. / Griffiths, B S ; Kuan, H L ; Ritz, K ; Glover, L A ; McCaig, A E ; Fenwick, C .

In: Microbial Ecology, Vol. 47, 2004, p. 104-113.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Griffiths, B S ; Kuan, H L ; Ritz, K ; Glover, L A ; McCaig, A E ; Fenwick, C . / The relationship between microbial community structure and functional stability, tested experimentally in an upland pasture soil. In: Microbial Ecology. 2004 ; Vol. 47. pp. 104-113.
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AU - McCaig, A E

AU - Fenwick, C

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N2 - Soil collected from an upland pasture was manipulated experimentally in ways shown previously to alter microbial community structure. One set of soil was subjected to chloroform fumigation for 0, 0.5, 2, or 24 h and the other was sterilised by gamma-irradiation and inoculated with a 10(-2), 10(-4), 10(-6), or 10(-8) dilution of a soil suspension prepared from unsterilized soil. Following incubation for 8 months, to allow for the stabilization of microbial biomass and activity, the resulting microbial community structure (determined by PCR-DGGE of bacterial specific amplification products of total soil DNA) was assessed. In addition, the functional stability (defined here as the resistance and resilience of short-term decomposition of plant residues to a transient heat or a persistent copper perturbation) was determined. Changes in the active bacterial population following perturbation (determined by RT-PCR-DGGE of total soil RNA) were also monitored. The manipulations resulted in distinct shifts in microbial community structure as shown by PCR-DGGE profiles, but no significant decreases in the number of bands. These shifts in microbial community structure were associated with a reduction in functional stability. The clear correlation between altered microbial community structure and functional stability observed in this upland pasture soil was not evident when the same protocols were applied to soils in other studies. RT-PCR-DGGE profiles only detected a shift in the active bacterial population following heat, but not copper, perturbation. We conclude that the functional stability of decomposition is related to specific components of the microbial community.

AB - Soil collected from an upland pasture was manipulated experimentally in ways shown previously to alter microbial community structure. One set of soil was subjected to chloroform fumigation for 0, 0.5, 2, or 24 h and the other was sterilised by gamma-irradiation and inoculated with a 10(-2), 10(-4), 10(-6), or 10(-8) dilution of a soil suspension prepared from unsterilized soil. Following incubation for 8 months, to allow for the stabilization of microbial biomass and activity, the resulting microbial community structure (determined by PCR-DGGE of bacterial specific amplification products of total soil DNA) was assessed. In addition, the functional stability (defined here as the resistance and resilience of short-term decomposition of plant residues to a transient heat or a persistent copper perturbation) was determined. Changes in the active bacterial population following perturbation (determined by RT-PCR-DGGE of total soil RNA) were also monitored. The manipulations resulted in distinct shifts in microbial community structure as shown by PCR-DGGE profiles, but no significant decreases in the number of bands. These shifts in microbial community structure were associated with a reduction in functional stability. The clear correlation between altered microbial community structure and functional stability observed in this upland pasture soil was not evident when the same protocols were applied to soils in other studies. RT-PCR-DGGE profiles only detected a shift in the active bacterial population following heat, but not copper, perturbation. We conclude that the functional stability of decomposition is related to specific components of the microbial community.

KW - GRADIENT GEL-ELECTROPHORESIS

KW - ECOSYSTEM FUNCTION RELATIONSHIP

KW - 16S RIBOSOMAL-RNA

KW - MOLECULAR ANALYSIS

KW - SPECIES-DIVERSITY

KW - BIODIVERSITY

KW - BIOMASS

KW - FUMIGATION

KW - GENES

KW - DNA

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VL - 47

SP - 104

EP - 113

JO - Microbial Ecology

JF - Microbial Ecology

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