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J Appl Genet. 2014 Aug;55(3):403-15. doi: 10.1007/s13353-014-0208-y. Epub 2014 Apr 11.

Microbial diversity of landslide soils assessed by RFLP and SSCP fingerprints.

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Department of Biology, University Federico II of Naples, Italy, via Cinthia ed. 7, 80134, Naples, Italy.


Landslides are a significant component of natural disasters in most countries around the world. Understanding these destructive phenomena through the analysis of possible correlations between microbial communities and the alteration of the soil responsible for landslides is important in order to reduce their negative consequences. To address this issue, bacterial and fungal communities in soils triggering landslides in Termini-Nerano and Massa Lubrense-Nerano (Naples, Italy) were analysed by genetic profiling techniques. Fingerprints were generated by single-strand conformation polymorphisms (SSCP) and random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD). The microbial community in both soil types was enriched in species which could contribute to the degradation process occurring during landslides, forming biofilms and leading to the transformation or the formation of minerals. Indeed, some of the identified bacteria were found to favour the transformation of clay minerals. These findings suggest a possible relationship between bacterial and fungal community-colonising soils and the occurrence of landslides.

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