Soil bacterial and fungal communities across a pH gradient in arable soil

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Rousk, J., Baath, E., Brookes, P. C., Lauber, C. L., Lozupone, C., Caporaso, J. G., Knight, R. and Fierer, N. 2010. Soil bacterial and fungal communities across a pH gradient in arable soil. The ISME Journal. 4 (10), pp. 1340-1351.

AuthorsRousk, J., Baath, E., Brookes, P. C., Lauber, C. L., Lozupone, C., Caporaso, J. G., Knight, R. and Fierer, N.
Abstract

Soils collected across a long-term liming experiment (pH 4.0-8.3), in which variation in factors other than pH have been minimized, were used to investigate the direct influence of pH on the abundance and composition of the two major soil microbial taxa, fungi and bacteria. We hypothesized that bacterial communities would be more strongly influenced by pH than fungal communities. To determine the relative abundance of bacteria and fungi, we used quantitative PCR (qPCR), and to analyze the composition and diversity of the bacterial and fungal communities, we used a bar-coded pyrosequencing technique. Both the relative abundance and diversity of bacteria were positively related to pH, the latter nearly doubling between pH 4 and 8. In contrast, the relative abundance of fungi was unaffected by pH and fungal diversity was only weakly related with pH. The composition of the bacterial communities was closely defined by soil pH; there was as much variability in bacterial community composition across the 180-m distance of this liming experiment as across soils collected from a wide range of biomes in North and South America, emphasizing the dominance of pH in structuring bacterial communities. The apparent direct influence of pH on bacterial community composition is probably due to the narrow pH ranges for optimal growth of bacteria. Fungal community composition was less strongly affected by pH, which is consistent with pure culture studies, demonstrating that fungi generally exhibit wider pH ranges for optimal growth. The ISME Journal (2010) 4, 1340-1351; doi: 10.1038/ismej.2010.58; published online 6 May 2010 

KeywordsRRES175; 175_Soil science; 175_Fungi; 175_Biochemistry; 175_Agroecology
Year of Publication2010
JournalThe ISME Journal
Journal citation4 (10), pp. 1340-1351
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1038/ismej.2010.58
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Funder project or codeSEF
Publication dates
Online06 May 2010
Publication process dates
Accepted27 Mar 2010
PublisherSpringer Nature
Nature Publishing Group
Copyright licensePublisher copyright
ISSN1751-7362

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