• Glucose dehydrogenase;
  • MPS ;
  • pyrroloquinoline quinone;
  • soil metagenome.


Mineral phosphate solubilization (MPS) microorganisms are important for their provision of orthophosphate anions for plant growth promotion activity in soil. In this study, we applied a functional metagenomic approach to identify this trait directly from the microbiome in barley rhizosphere soil that had not received P fertilizer over a 15-year period. A fosmid system was used to clone the metagenome of which 18,000 clones (~666 Mb of DNA) was screened for MPS. Functional assays and High Performance Liquid Chromatography analysis recognized gluconic acid production and MPS activity in the range 24.8–77.1 mmol/L and 27.6–38.16 μg/mL, respectively, when screened in an Escherichia coli host (at frequency of one MPS-positive clone hit per 114 Mb DNA tested). The MPS clones (with average insert size of ~37 kb) were analysed by 454 Roche sequencing and annotated. A number of genes/operons with homology to Phosphorous (P) uptake, regulatory and solubilization mechanisms were identified, linking the MPS function to the uncultivated microbiome present in barley rhizosphere soil.