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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2006 Nov;58(2):303-15.

Field and microcosm experiments to evaluate the effects of agricultural Cu treatment on the density and genetic structure of microbial communities in two different soils.

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INRA-Université de Bourgogne, UMR Microbiologie et Géochimie des Sols, CMSE, Dijon, France.


The effects of Cu amendment on indigenous soil microorganisms were investigated in two soils, a calcareous silty clay (Ep) and a sandy soil (Au), by means of a 1-year field experiment and a two-month microcosm incubation. Cu was added as 'Bordeaux mixture' [CuSO(4), Ca(OH)(2)] at the standard rate used in viticulture (B1=16 kg Cu kg(-1) soil) and at a higher level of contamination (B3=48 kg Cu ha(-1) soil). More extractable Cu was observed in sandy soil (Au) than in silty soil (Ep). Furthermore, total Cu and Cu-EDTA declined with time in Au soil, whereas they remained stable in Ep soil. Quantitative modifications of the microflora were assessed by C-biomass measurements and qualitative modifications were assessed by the characterization of the genetic structure of bacterial and fungal communities from DNA directly extracted from the soil, using B- and F-ARISA (bacterial and fungal automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis). In the field study, no significant modifications were observed in C-biomass whereas microcosm incubation showed a decrease in B3 contamination only. ARISA fingerprinting showed slight but significant modifications of bacterial and fungal communities in field and microcosm incubation. These modifications were transient in all cases, suggesting a short-term effect of Cu stress. Microcosm experiments detected the microbial community modifications with greater precision in the short-term, while field experiments showed that the biological effects of Cu contamination may be overcome or hidden by pedo-climatic variations.

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