JOURNAL ARTICLE

Phylogenetically distinct phylotypes modulate nitrification in a paddy soil

Jun Zhao, Baozhan Wang, Zhongjun Jia
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2015 May 1, 81 (9): 3218-27
25724959
Paddy fields represent a unique ecosystem in which regular flooding occurs, allowing for rice cultivation. However, the taxonomic identity of the microbial functional guilds that catalyze soil nitrification remains poorly understood. In this study, we provide molecular evidence for distinctly different phylotypes of nitrifying communities in a neutral paddy soil using high-throughput pyrosequencing and DNA-based stable isotope probing (SIP). Following urea addition, the levels of soil nitrate increased significantly, accompanied by an increase in the abundance of the bacterial and archaeal amoA gene in microcosms subjected to SIP (SIP microcosms) during a 56-day incubation period. High-throughput fingerprints of the total 16S rRNA genes in SIP microcosms indicated that nitrification activity positively correlated with the abundance of Nitrosospira-like ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), soil group 1.1b-like ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA), and Nitrospira-like nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB). Pyrosequencing of 13C-labeled DNA further revealed that 13CO2 was assimilated by these functional groups to a much greater extent than by marine group 1.1a-associated AOA and Nitrobacter-like NOB. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that active AOB communities were closely affiliated with Nitrosospira sp. strain L115 and the Nitrosospira multiformis lineage and that the 13C-labeled AOA were related to phylogenetically distinct groups, including the moderately thermophilic "Candidatus Nitrososphaera gargensis," uncultured fosmid 29i4, and acidophilic "Candidatus Nitrosotalea devanaterra" lineages. These results suggest that a wide variety of microorganisms were involved in soil nitrification, implying physiological diversification of soil nitrifying communities that are constantly exposed to environmental fluctuations in paddy fields.

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