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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 Feb;66(2):754-62.

Spatial changes in the bacterial community structure along a vertical oxygen gradient in flooded paddy soil cores.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für terrestrische Mikrobiologie, D-35043 Marburg, Germany.


Molecular ecology techniques were applied to assess changes in the bacterial community structure along a vertical oxygen gradient in flooded paddy soil cores. Microsensor measurements showed that oxygen was depleted from 140 microM at the floodwater/soil interface to nondetectable amounts at a depth of approximately 2.0 mm and below. Bacterial 16S rRNA gene (rDNA)-based community fingerprint patterns were obtained from 200-microm-thick soil slices of both the oxic and anoxic zones by using the T-RFLP (terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism) technique. The fingerprints revealed a tremendous shift in the community patterns in correlation to the oxygen depletion measured with depth. 16S rDNA clone sequences recovered from the oxic or anoxic zone directly corresponded to those terminal restriction fragments which were highly characteristic of the respective zone. Comparative sequence analysis of these clones identified members of the alpha and beta subclasses of Proteobacteria as the abundant populations in the oxic zone. In contrast, members of clostridial cluster I were determined to be the predominant bacterial group in the oxygen-depleted soil. The extraction of total RNA followed by reverse transcription-PCR of the bacterial 16S rRNA and T-RFLP analysis resulted for both oxic and anoxic zones of flooded soil cores in community fingerprint patterns similar to those obtained by the rDNA-based analysis. This finding suggests that the microbial groups detected on the rDNA level are the metabolically active populations within the oxic and anoxic soil slices examined.

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