Impacts of organic and inorganic fertilizers on nitrification in a cold climate soil are linked to the bacterial ammonia oxidizer community

Fenliang Fan, Qianbao Yang, Zhaojun Li, Dan Wei, Xi'an Cui, Yongchao Liang
Microbial Ecology 2011, 62 (4): 982-90
The microbiology underpinning soil nitrogen cycling in northeast China remains poorly understood. These agricultural systems are typified by widely contrasting temperature, ranging from -40 to 38°C. In a long-term site in this region, the impacts of mineral and organic fertilizer amendments on potential nitrification rate (PNR) were determined. PNR was found to be suppressed by long-term mineral fertilizer treatment but enhanced by manure treatment. The abundance and structure of ammonia-oxidizing bacterial (AOB) and archaeal (AOA) communities were assessed using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis techniques. The abundance of AOA was reduced by all fertilizer treatments, while the opposite response was measured for AOB, leading to a six- to 60-fold reduction in AOA/AOB ratio. The community structure of AOA exhibited little variation across fertilization treatments, whereas the structure of the AOB community was highly responsive. PNR was correlated with community structure of AOB rather than that of AOA. Variation in the community structure of AOB was linked to soil pH, total carbon, and nitrogen contents induced by different long-term fertilization regimes. The results suggest that manure amendment establishes conditions which select for an AOB community type which recovers mineral fertilizer-suppressed soil nitrification.

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