Editor: Christoph Tebbe
Archaea rather than bacteria control nitrification in two agricultural acidic soils
Article first published online: 12 OCT 2010
© 2010 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved
FEMS Microbiology Ecology
Volume 74, Issue 3, pages 566–574, December 2010
How to Cite
Gubry-Rangin, C., Nicol, G. W. and Prosser, J. I. (2010), Archaea rather than bacteria control nitrification in two agricultural acidic soils. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 74: 566–574. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2010.00971.x
- Issue published online: 8 NOV 2010
- Article first published online: 12 OCT 2010
- Accepted manuscript online: 15 SEP 2010 12:00AM EST
- Received 1 March 2010; revised 10 June 2010; accepted 20 August 2010.Final version published online 12 October 2010.
- ammonia-oxidizing archaea;
- ammonia-oxidizing bacteria;
- soil pH
Nitrification is a central component of the global nitrogen cycle. Ammonia oxidation, the first step of nitrification, is performed in terrestrial ecosystems by both ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA). Published studies indicate that soil pH may be a critical factor controlling the relative abundances of AOA and AOB communities. In order to determine the relative contributions of AOA and AOB to ammonia oxidation in two agricultural acidic Scottish soils (pH 4.5 and 6), the influence of acetylene (a nitrification inhibitor) was investigated during incubation of soil microcosms at 20 °C for 1 month. High rates of nitrification were observed in both soils in the absence of acetylene. Quantification of respective amoA genes (a key functional gene for ammonia oxidizers) demonstrated significant growth of AOA, but not AOB. A significant positive relationship was found between nitrification rate and AOA, but not AOB growth. AOA growth was inhibited in the acetylene-containing microcosms. Moreover, AOA transcriptional activity decreased significantly in the acetylene-containing microcosms compared with the control, whereas no difference was observed for the AOB transcriptional activity. Consequently, growth and activity of only archaeal but not bacterial ammonia oxidizer communities strongly suggest that AOA, but not AOB, control nitrification in these two acidic soils.