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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2003 Mar 1;43(2):263-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2003.tb01066.x.

The impact of grassland management regime on the community structure of selected bacterial groups in soils.

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Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon EX20 2SB, UK. .


The impact of long-term grassland management regimes on microbial community structure in soils was assessed using multivariate analysis of polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) banding patterns of selected bacterial groups and PLFA (phospholipid fatty acid) profiling. The management regimes assessed were inorganic nitrogen (N) fertiliser application and soil drainage. PCR-DGGE profiles of the eubacteria, actinomycetes, ammonia oxidisers and pseudomonads were assessed by principal co-ordinate analysis of similarity indices which were generated from binary data using both Dice and Jaccard coefficients. The analysis of binary DGGE data revealed significant impacts of N fertiliser on the eubacterial and actinomycete community structure using the Jaccard coefficient, whilst N fertiliser had a significant impact on the actinomycete community structure only when using similarity indices generated from the Dice coefficient. Soil drainage had a significant impact on the community structures of the actinomycetes and the pseudomonads using both Dice and Jaccard derived similarity indices. Multivariate analysis of principal components derived from PLFA profiling revealed that N fertiliser had a significant impact on the microbial community structure. Although drainage alone was not a significant factor in discriminating between PLFA community profiles of the different treatments, there was a significant interaction with N fertiliser. Analysis of principal component analysis (PCA) loadings revealed that PLFAs i15:0 and i17:0 were partly responsible for the clustering away of the undrained-N fertilised treatment. Although soil management regime influenced some background soil data, correlation analysis using PC1 from PLFA data revealed no significant relationship with soil organic matter, pH, total C and total N. These results provide evidence that grassland management practices impact on the community composition of specific microbial groups in soils.

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