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Environ Microbiol Rep. 2010 Apr;2(2):304-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-2229.2009.00130.x. Epub 2010 Jan 20.

Putative ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea in an acidic red soil with different land utilization patterns.

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State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China.


Ammonia-oxidizers play a key role in nitrification, which is important for nitrogen cycling and soil function. However, little is known about how vegetation successions and agricultural practices caused by human activities impact the ammonia-oxidizers and nitrification process. Putative ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA) communities under different land utilization patterns of restoration (forest), degradation (pasture), cropland and pine plantation were analysed in an acidic red soil based on bacterial and archaeal amoA genes together with archaeal 16S rRNA gene. Real-time PCR, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and sequencing of clone libraries were conducted to study their abundance and community structure. Land utilization pattern showed significant effects on the copy numbers of all these genes, but only the bacterial amoA gene correlated significantly with potential nitrification rates (PNR). The cropland plot possessed the highest bacterial amoA gene copies and PNR, while the degradation plot was opposite to that. There were no significant variations in the bacterial amoA gene structure, which was dominated by Clusters 10 and 11 in Nitrosospira. However, archaeal amoA gene structure varied among different land utilization patterns especially for the cropland. The degradation plot was dominated by Crenarchaea 1.1c-related groups from which the amoA gene could not been amplified in this study, while other plots were dominated by Crenarchaea 1.1a/b group based on archaeal 16S rRNA gene analysis. These results indicated significant effects of land utilization patterns on putative ammonia oxidizers, which were especially obvious in the degradation and cropland plots where frequent human disturbance occurred.

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