Diazotrophic microbial community and abundance in acidic subtropical natural and re-vegetated forest soils revealed by high-throughput sequencing of nifH gene

Han Meng, Zhichao Zhou, Ruonan Wu, Yongfeng Wang, Ji Dong Gu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) is an important natural biochemical process converting the inert dinitrogen gas (N2) in the atmosphere to ammonia (NH3) in the N cycle. In this study, the nifH gene was chosen to detect the diazotrophic microorganisms with high-throughput sequencing from five acidic forest soils, including three natural forests and two re-vegetated forests. Soil samples were taken in two seasons (summer and winter) at two depth layers (surface and lower depths). A dataset of 179,600 reads obtained from 20 samples were analyzed to provide the microbial community structure, diversity, abundance, and relationship with physiochemical parameters. Both archaea and bacteria were detected in these samples and diazotrophic bacteria were the dominant members contributing to the biological dinitrogen fixation in the acidic forest soils. Cyanobacteria, Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, Spirocheates, and Verrucomicrobia were observed, especially the Proteobacteria as the most abundant phylum. The core genera were Bradyrhizobium and Methylobacterium from α-Proteobacteia, and Desulfovibrio from δ-Proteobacteia in the phylum of Proteobacteia of these samples. The diversity indices and the gene abundances of all samples were higher in the surface layer than the lower layer. Diversity was apparently higher in re-vegetated forests than the natural forests. Significant positive correlation to the organic matter and nitrogen-related parameters was observed, but there was no significant seasonal variation on the community structure and diversity in these samples between the summer and winter. The application of high-throughput sequencing method provides a better understanding and more comprehensive information of diazotrophs in acidic forest soils than conventional and PCR-based ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)995-1005
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Volume103
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 18 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Community
  • Diversity
  • Forest soil
  • High-throughput sequencing
  • nifH gene
  • Nitrogen cycle
  • Southern China

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