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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Aug;72(8):5342-8.

Identification of bacterial micropredators distinctively active in a soil microbial food web.

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  • 1Institute of Groundwater Ecology, GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, Ingolstaedter Landstrasse 1, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany.


The understanding of microbial interactions and trophic networks is a prerequisite for the elucidation of the turnover and transformation of organic materials in soils. To elucidate the incorporation of biomass carbon into a soil microbial food web, we added 13C-labeled Escherichia coli biomass to an agricultural soil and identified those indigenous microbes that were specifically active in its mineralization and carbon sequestration. rRNA stable isotope probing (SIP) revealed that uncultivated relatives of distinct groups of gliding bacterial micropredators (Lysobacter spp., Myxococcales, and the Bacteroidetes) lead carbon sequestration and mineralization from the added biomass. In addition, fungal populations within the Microascaceae were shown to respond to the added biomass after only 1 h of incubation and were thus surprisingly reactive to degradable labile carbon. This RNA-SIP study identifies indigenous microbes specifically active in the transformation of a nondefined complex carbon source, bacterial biomass, directly in a soil ecosystem.

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