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Microb Ecol. 2000 May;39(4):263-272.

Heterogeneous Cell Density and Genetic Structure of Bacterial Pools Associated with Various Soil Microenvironments as Determined by Enumeration and DNA Fingerprinting Approach (RISA).

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Laboratoire d'Ecologie Microbienne, UMR CNRS 5557, Université Claude Bernard, Lyon I, F-69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France


The cell density and the genetic structure of bacterial subcommunities (further named pools) present in the various microenvironments of a silt loam soil were investigated. The microenvironments were isolated first using a procedure of soil washes that separated bacteria located outside aggregates (outer part) from those located inside aggregates (inner part). A nondestructive physical fractionation was then applied to the inner part in order to separate bacteria located inside stable aggregates of different size (size fractions, i.e., two macroaggregate fractions, two microaggregate fractions, and the dispersible day fraction). Bacterial densities measured by acridine orange direct counts (AODC) and viable heterotrophic (VH) cell enumerations showed the heterogeneous quantitative distribution of cells in soil. Bacteria were preferentially located in the inner part with 87.6% and 95.4% of the whole AODC and VH bacteria, respectively, and in the microaggregate and dispersible clay fractions of this part with more than 70% and 80% of the whole AODC and VH bacteria, respectively. The rRNA intergenic spacer analysis (RISA) was used to study the genetic structure of the bacterial pools. Different fingerprints and consequently different genetic structures were observed between the unfractionated soil and the microenvironments, and also among the various microenvironments, giving evidence that some populations were specific to a given location in addition to the common populations of all the microenvironments. Cluster and multivariate analysis of RISA profiles showed the weak contribution of the pools located in the macroaggregate fractions to the whole soil community structure, as well as the clear distinction between the pool associated to the macroaggregate fractions and the pools associated to the microaggregate ones. Furthermore, these statistical analyses allowed us to ascertain the influence of the clay and organic matter content of microenvironments on the genetic structure relatedness between pools.


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