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Environ Microbiol. 2007 Mar;9(3):752-64.

Dynamics and identification of soil microbial populations actively assimilating carbon from 13C-labelled wheat residue as estimated by DNA- and RNA-SIP techniques.

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INRA-Université de Bourgogne, UMR Microbiologie et Géochimie des Sols, CMSE, 17, rue Sully, B. V. 86510, 21065 Dijon Cedex, France.


This work is the first report on the use of DNA-, RNA-SIP approaches to elucidate the dynamics and the diversity of bacterial populations actively assimilating C derived from plant residues labelled at more than 90% (13)C. Wheat-residues, were incorporated and incubated into soil microcosms for 28 days. At the end of the incubation time, no more than 55% of the total CO(2) released was (13)C-labelled, suggesting the occurrence of an important priming effect process. After 7 days, more than 30% of the whole DNA extracted were labelled, allowing an efficient separation of labelled from unlabelled DNA using density gradient centrifugation. The genetic structure of bacterial community, assessed by Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis technique, was deduced from the (13)C- and (12)C-fractions of control and enriched conditions, over the time course of the experiment. Dynamics showed that wheat residues directly induced a rapid and durable stimulation of fresh organic matter (FOM) degrading populations ((13)C), while specific soil organic matter (SOM) degrading populations ((12)C) seemed to be indirectly stimulated only at the early time point (t7d). After 14 days of incubations, 16S rRNA clone libraries were elaborated on (12)C- and (13)C-RNA extracted from enriched microcosms, as well as (12)C-RNA extracted from control condition. Stimulation of the beta- and gamma-subgroups of proteobacteria, where numerous populations were previously described as r-strategists or copiotrophic organisms, was recorded in the (13)C-fraction. In the mean time, several phyla like Actinobacteria, Cyanobacteria, Candidate, Gemmatimonadetes and Planctomycetes were only present in (12)C fractions. Surprisingly, several sequences affiliated to species characterized as oligotrophic organisms were retrieved in both types of fraction. Trophic relationships between soil bacteria involved in FOM and SOM degradation were discussed on the basis of different hypotheses of Fontaine and colleagues (2003) concerning the mechanisms of the priming effect induction.

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