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Microb Ecol. 2006 Nov;52(4):679-92. Epub 2006 Aug 15.

Variation in microbial community composition and culturability in the rhizosphere of Leucanthemopsis alpina (L.) Heywood and adjacent bare soil along an alpine chronosequence.

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Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), ETH Zentrum CHN G47 Universitätstrasse 16, CH-8092, Zurich, Switzerland.


We compared the size, culturability, diversity, and dominant species similarity of the bacterial communities of Leucanthemopsis alpina (L.) Heywood rhizosphere and adjacent bare soil (interspace) along a chronosequence of soil development time (5, 50, and 70 years) in the forefield of the Dammaglacier (Switzerland). We found no evidence that the size of the bacterial community was significantly affected by either soil age or the presence of L. alpina. In contrast, the proportion of the bacterial community that could be cultured on nonselective agars, and which was taken as an indication of the proportion of r-selected populations, was significantly higher in the 50- and 70-year-old soils than in the 5-year-old soil, and was also significantly higher in the rhizosphere of L. alpina at all time points. RDA indicated significant correlations between the increased culturability of the bacterial community over time and increasing concentrations of labile N, and between the increased culturability in the rhizosphere and increased concentrations of labile C and N. HaeIII-amplified ribosomal DNA (rDNA) restriction analysis of a library of 120 clones of 16S rDNA revealed 85 distinct phylotypes. Hurlbert's probability of interspecific encounter (PIE) values derived from this library ranged from 0.95 to 1.0, indicating a very high genetic diversity. There was no significant difference in the PIE values of rhizosphere and interspace communities. Detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) of 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) community profiles clearly distinguished the rhizosphere from the interspace community in the 5-year-old soils and also clearly distinguished between these communities and the rhizosphere and interspace communities of the 50- and 70-year-old soils. However, 16S rRNA DGGE revealed little difference between rhizosphere and interspace communities in the 50- and 70-year-old soils. The relative similarity of the 16S rRNA profiles strongly reflected labile carbon and nitrogen availability. Overall, our results suggest that improved C and N availability in the rhizosphere of L. alpina increases the size of r-selected bacterial species populations, but that the influence of L. alpina depends on soil age, being maximal in the youngest soils and minimal in the oldest. The reduced influence of L. alpina in the older soils may reflect a feedback between improved nutrient availability and reduced rhizodeposition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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