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Microb Ecol. 2004 Oct;48(3):316-23. Epub 2004 Aug 24.

Colony-forming analysis of bacterial community succession in deglaciated soils indicates pioneer stress-tolerant opportunists.

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Department of Earth, Ecological and Environmental Sciences, University of Toledo, Mail Stop 604, Toledo, OH, 43606, USA.


We investigated the response of bacterial communities inhabiting two deglaciated soils (10 and 100 years post-deglaciation) to two stimuli: (i) physical disruption (mixing), and (ii) disruption plus nutrient addition. PCR/DGGE analysis of 16S rRNA genes extracted from soil during a 168-h incubation period following the stimuli revealed that more bacterial phylotypes were stimulated in the 10-y soil than in the 100-y soil. In addition to 10-y and 100-y soils, two additional soils (46 and 70 y) were further differentiated using colony-forming curve (CFC) analysis during a 168-h incubation period, which revealed that younger soils contained a higher proportion of rapidly colonizing bacteria than successively older soils. "Eco-collections" of CFC isolates that represented colonies that formed "fast" (during the first 24 h) and "slow" (final 36 h) were harvested from 10-y and 100-y soils and differentiated according to response to three stress parameters: (i) tolerance to nutrient limitation, (ii) tolerance to temperature change, and (iii) resistance to antibiotics. The tested parameters distinguished "fast" from "slow" bacteria regardless of the age of the soil from which they were isolated. Specifically, eco-collections of "fast" bacteria exhibited greater nutrient- and temperature-stress tolerance as well as more frequent antibiotic resistance than "slow" bacteria. Further DGGE analysis showed that several eco-collection phylotype bands matched (electrophoretically) those of soil phylotypes enriched by mixing and nutrient stimulus. Overall, the results of this study indicated that the succession of colony-forming bacteria was differentiated by bacterial opportunism and temporal response to stimuli. Furthermore, although stress tolerance strategies are associated with opportunistic bacteria regardless of successional age, it appears that the proportion of opportunistic bacteria distinguishes early vs late succession forefield bacterial populations.

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