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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

Response of Induced Perturbation on Replicating beta-Proteobacterial Ammonia-Oxidizing Populations in Soil

Nyberg, Karin; Enwall, Karin; Schnürer, Anna; Sundh, Ingvar; Hallin, Sara Gates


The short-term response of induced perturbation by 4-ethylphenol on beta-proteobacterial ammonia oxidizers (beta-AOB) was investigated in two soils with initial differences in community structure. The hypotheses were that short-term effects of a disturbance of the AOB community is best monitored by specifically looking at the active populations and that soils with dissimilar active AOB populations would display different degree of resistance or resilience. Two soils from a previously characterized long-term field study fertilized with manure or sewage sludge was used. Soil microcosms were incubated in the laboratory over 15 days. The substrate-induced ammonia oxidation was measured, and the composition of beta-AOB communities was determined by PCR-DGGE of specific beta-AOB 16S rRNA gene fragments. Actively replicating members of the beta-AOB were distinguished by the use of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) immunocapture. This approach demonstrated that only a minor fraction of the total AOB community was active. Exposure to 4-ethylphenol resulted in approximately 90% lowered substrate-induced ammonia oxidation rates in both soils. This activity inhibition was not accompanied by shifts in beta-AOB community structure when total beta-AOB DNA was studied. By contrast, changes were seen in the DGGE banding pattern of the BrdU-labeled community DNA after 4-ethylphenol addition in the manure-fertilized soil. In the sewage sludge fertilized soil, the banding pattern of the BrdU-labeled beta-AOB remained unchanged, but bands were weaker after the disturbance. In conclusion, it was shown that BrdU immunocapture was applicable to detect shifts in community composition among replicating beta-AOB populations in soil. However, this was not reflected by the soils' ammonia oxidation capacity to resist to or recover from the induced perturbation suggesting that rapid population shifts may not influence soil functioning in a short-term perspective.

Published in

Microbial Ecology
2012, Volume: 63, number: 3, pages: 701-709
Publisher: SPRINGER