Effect of soil ammonium concentration on N2O release and on the community structure of ammonia oxidizers and denitrifiers.
ABSTRACT: The effect of ammonium addition (6.5, 58, and 395 microg of NH4+-N g [dry weight] of soil(-1)) on soil microbial communities was explored. For medium and high ammonium concentrations, increased N2O release rates and a shift toward a higher contribution of nitrification to N2O release occurred after incubation for 5 days at 4 degrees C. Communities of ammonia oxidizers were assayed after 4 weeks of incubation by denaturant gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of the amoA gene coding for the small subunit of ammonia monooxygenase. The DGGE fingerprints were invariably the same whether the soil was untreated or incubated with low, medium, or high ammonium concentrations. Phylogenetic analysis of cloned PCR products from excised DGGE bands detected amoA sequences which probably belonged to Nitrosospira 16S rRNA clusters 3 and 4. Additional clones clustered with Nitrosospira sp. strains Ka3 and Ka4 and within an amoA cluster from unknown species. A Nitrosomonas-like amoA gene was detected in only one clone. In agreement with the amoA results, community profiles of total bacteria analyzed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) showed only minor differences. However, a community shift occurred for denitrifier populations based on T-RFLP analysis of nirK genes encoding copper-containing nitrite reductase with incubation at medium and high ammonia concentrations. Major terminal restriction fragments observed in environmental samples were further described by correspondence to cloned nirK genes from the same soil. Phylogenetic analysis grouped these clones into clusters of soil nirK genes. However, some clones were also closely related to genes from known denitrifiers. The shift in the denitrifier community was probably the consequence of the increased supply of oxidized nitrogen through nitrification. Nitrification activity increased upon addition of ammonium, but the community structure of ammonium oxidizers did not change.
Project description:Both bacteria and thaumarchaea contribute to ammonia oxidation, the first step in nitrification. The abundance of putative ammonia oxidizers is estimated by quantification of the functional gene amoA, which encodes ammonia monooxygenase subunit A. In soil, thaumarchaeal amoA genes often outnumber the equivalent bacterial genes. Ecophysiological studies indicate that thaumarchaeal ammonia oxidizers may have a selective advantage at low ammonia concentrations, with potential adaptation to soils in which mineralization is the major source of ammonia. To test this hypothesis, thaumarchaeal and bacterial ammonia oxidizers were investigated during nitrification in microcosms containing an organic, acidic forest peat soil (pH 4.1) with a low ammonium concentration but high potential for ammonia release during mineralization. Net nitrification rates were high but were not influenced by addition of ammonium. Bacterial amoA genes could not be detected, presumably because of low abundance of bacterial ammonia oxidizers. Phylogenetic analysis of thaumarchaeal 16S rRNA gene sequences indicated that dominant populations belonged to group 1.1c, 1.3, and "deep peat" lineages, while known amo-containing lineages (groups 1.1a and 1.1b) comprised only a small proportion of the total community. Growth of thaumarchaeal ammonia oxidizers was indicated by increased abundance of amoA genes during nitrification but was unaffected by addition of ammonium. Similarly, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis of amoA gene transcripts demonstrated small temporal changes in thaumarchaeal ammonia oxidizer communities but no effect of ammonium amendment. Thaumarchaea therefore appeared to dominate ammonia oxidation in this soil and oxidized ammonia arising from mineralization of organic matter rather than added inorganic nitrogen.
Project description:The effect of temperature on the community structure of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria was investigated in three different meadow soils. Two of the soils (OMS and GMS) were acidic (pH 5.0 to 5.8) and from sites in Germany with low annual mean temperature (about 10 degrees C), while KMS soil was slightly alkaline (pH 7.9) and from a site in Israel with a high annual mean temperature (about 22 degrees C). The soils were fertilized and incubated for up to 20 weeks in a moist state and as a buffered (pH 7) slurry amended with urea at different incubation temperatures (4 to 37 degrees C). OMS soil was also incubated with less fertilizer than the other soils. The community structure of ammonia oxidizers was analyzed before and after incubation by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of the amoA gene, which codes for the alpha subunit of ammonia monooxygenase. All amoA gene sequences found belonged to the genus Nitrosospira. The analysis showed community change due to temperature both in moist soil and in the soil slurry. Two patterns of community change were observed. One pattern was a change between the different Nitrosospira clusters, which was observed in moist soil and slurry incubations of GMS and OMS. Nitrosospira AmoA cluster 1 was mainly detected below 30 degrees C, while Nitrosospira cluster 4 was predominant at 25 degrees C. Nitrosospira clusters 3a, 3b, and 9 dominated at 30 degrees C. The second pattern, observed in KMS, showed a community shift predominantly within a single Nitrosospira cluster. The sequences of the individual DGGE bands that exhibited different trends with temperature belonged almost exclusively to Nitrosospira cluster 3a. We conclude that ammonia oxidizer populations are influenced by temperature. In addition, we confirmed previous observations that N fertilizer also influences the community structure of ammonia oxidizers. Thus, Nitrosospira cluster 1 was absent in OMS soil treated with less fertilizer, while Nitrosospira cluster 9 was only found in the sample given less fertilizer.
Project description:Soilless medium-based horticulture systems are highly prevalent due to their capacity to optimize growth of high-cash crops. However, these systems are highly dynamic and more sensitive to physiochemical and pH perturbations than traditional soil-based systems, especially during nitrification associated with ammonia-based fertilization. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of nitrification-generated acidification on ammonia oxidation rates and nitrifying bacterial community dynamics in soilless growth media. To achieve this goal, perlite soilless growth medium from a commercial bell pepper greenhouse was incubated with ammonium in bench-scale microcosm experiments. Initial quantitative real-time PCR analysis indicated that betaproteobacterial ammonia oxidizers were significantly more abundant than ammonia-oxidizing archaea, and therefore, research focused on this group. Ammonia oxidation rates were highest between 0 and 9 days, when pH values dropped from 7.4 to 4.9. Pyrosequencing of betaproteobacterial ammonia-oxidizing amoA gene fragments indicated that r-strategist-like Nitrosomonas was the dominant ammonia-oxidizing bacterial genus during this period, seemingly due to the high ammonium concentration and optimal growth conditions in the soilless media. Reduction of pH to levels below 4.8 resulted in a significant decrease in both ammonia oxidation rates and the diversity of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria, with increased relative abundance of the r-strategist-like Nitrosospira. Nitrite oxidizers (Nitrospira and Nitrobacter) were on the whole more abundant and less sensitive to acidification than ammonia oxidizers. This study demonstrates that nitrification and nitrifying bacterial community dynamics in high-N-load intensive soilless growth media may be significantly different from those in in-terra agricultural systems.
Project description:Very little is known regarding the ecology of Nitrosospira sp. strain AF-like bacteria, a unique group of ammonia oxidizers within the Betaproteobacteria. We studied the response of Nitrosospira sp. strain AF-like ammonia oxidizers to changing environmental conditions by applying molecular methods and physiological measurements to Californian grassland soil manipulated in the laboratory. This soil is naturally high in Nitrosospira sp. strain AF-like bacteria relative to the much-better-studied Nitrosospira multiformis-like ammonia-oxidizing bacteria. Increases in temperature, soil moisture, and fertilizer interacted to reduce the relative abundance of Nitrosospira sp. strain AF-like bacteria, although they remained numerically dominant. The overall abundance of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria increased with increasing soil moisture and decreased with increasing temperature. Potential nitrification activity was altered by interactions among temperature, soil moisture, and fertilizer, with activity tending to be higher when soil moisture and temperature were increased. The increase in potential nitrification activity with increased temperature was surprising, given that the overall abundance of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria decreased significantly under these conditions. This observation suggests that (i) Nitrosospira sp. strain AF-like bacteria may respond to increased temperature with an increase in activity, despite a decrease in abundance, or (ii) that potential nitrification activity in these soils may be due to organisms other than bacteria (e.g., archaeal ammonia oxidizers), at least under conditions of increased temperature.
Project description:Nitrification plays a central role in the global nitrogen cycle and is responsible for significant losses of nitrogen fertilizer, atmospheric pollution by the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, and nitrate pollution of groundwaters. Ammonia oxidation, the first step in nitrification, was thought to be performed by autotrophic bacteria until the recent discovery of archaeal ammonia oxidizers. Autotrophic archaeal ammonia oxidizers have been cultivated from marine and thermal spring environments, but the relative importance of bacteria and archaea in soil nitrification is unclear and it is believed that soil archaeal ammonia oxidizers may use organic carbon, rather than growing autotrophically. In this soil microcosm study, stable isotope probing was used to demonstrate incorporation of (13)C-enriched carbon dioxide into the genomes of thaumarchaea possessing two functional genes: amoA, encoding a subunit of ammonia monooxygenase that catalyses the first step in ammonia oxidation; and hcd, a key gene in the autotrophic 3-hydroxypropionate/4-hydroxybutyrate cycle, which has been found so far only in archaea. Nitrification was accompanied by increases in archaeal amoA gene abundance and changes in amoA gene diversity, but no change was observed in bacterial amoA genes. Archaeal, but not bacterial, amoA genes were also detected in (13)C-labeled DNA, demonstrating inorganic CO(2) fixation by archaeal, but not bacterial, ammonia oxidizers. Autotrophic archaeal ammonia oxidation was further supported by coordinate increases in amoA and hcd gene abundance in (13)C-labeled DNA. The results therefore provide direct evidence for a role for archaea in soil ammonia oxidation and demonstrate autotrophic growth of ammonia oxidizing archaea in soil.
Project description:The first step of nitrification, the oxidation of ammonia to nitrite, is important for reducing eutrophication in freshwater environments when coupled with anammox (anaerobic ammonium oxidation) or denitrification. We analyzed active formerly biofilm-associated aerobic ammonia-oxidizing communities originating from Ammerbach (AS) and Leutra South (LS) stream water (683 ± 550 [mean ± standard deviation] and 16 ± 7 ?M NH(4)(+), respectively) that were developed in a flow-channel experiment and incubated under three temperature regimens. By stable-isotope probing using (13)CO(2), we found that members of the Bacteria and not Archaea were the functionally dominant autotrophic ammonia oxidizers at all temperatures under relatively high ammonium loads. The copy numbers of bacterial amoA genes in (13)C-labeled DNA were lower at 30°C than at 13°C in both stream enrichment cultures. However, the community composition of the ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) in the (13)C-labeled DNA responded differently to temperature manipulation at two ammonium concentrations. In LS enrichments incubated at the in situ temperature (13°C), Nitrosomonas oligotropha-like sequences were retrieved with sequences from Nitrosospira AmoA cluster 4, while the proportion of Nitrosospira sequences increased at higher temperatures. In AS enrichments incubated at 13°C and 20°C, AmoA cluster 4 sequences were dominant; Nitrosomonas nitrosa-like sequences dominated at 30°C. Biofilm-associated AOB communities were affected differentially by temperature at two relatively high ammonium concentrations, implicating them in a potential role in governing contaminated freshwater AOB distributions.
Project description:Nitrification driven by ammonia oxidizers is a key step of nitrogen removal in estuarine environments. Spatial distribution characteristics of ammonia-oxidizers have been well understood in mudflats, but less studied in the agricultural soils next to mudflats, which also play an important role in nitrogen cycling of the estuarine ecosystem. In the present research, we investigated ammonia oxidizers' distributions along the Yangtze River estuary in Jiangsu Province, China, sampling soils right next to the estuary (mudflats) and the agricultural soils 100 m away. We determined the relationship between the abundance of amoA genes of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and the potential nitrification rates of the mudflats and agricultural soils. We also identified the environmental variables that correlated with the composition of the ammonia oxidizers' communities by 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing. Results indicated that agricultural soils have significantly higher potential nitrification rates as well as the AOA abundance, and resulted in strong phylogenetic clustering only in AOA communities. The ammonia oxidizers' community compositions differed dramatically among the mudflat and agricultural sites, and stochasticity played a dominant role. The AOA communities were dominated by the Group 1.1a cluster at the mudflat, whereas the 54D9 and 29i4 clusters were dominant in agriculture soils. The dominant AOB communities in the mudflat were closely related to the Nitrosospira lineage, whereas the agricultural soils were dominated by the Nitrosomonas lineage. Soil organic matter and salinity were correlated with the ammonia oxidizers' community compositions.
Project description:The effects of mineral fertilizer (NPK) and organic manure on the community structure of soil ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) was investigated in a long-term (16-year) fertilizer experiment. The experiment included seven treatments: organic manure, half organic manure N plus half fertilizer N, fertilizer NPK, fertilizer NP, fertilizer NK, fertilizer PK, and the control (without fertilization). N fertilization greatly increased soil nitrification potential, and mineral N fertilizer had a greater impact than organic manure, while N deficiency treatment (PK) had no significant effect. AOB community structure was analyzed by PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) of the amoA gene, which encodes the alpha subunit of ammonia monooxygenase. DGGE profiles showed that the AOB community was more diverse in N-fertilized treatments than in the PK-fertilized treatment or the control, while one dominant band observed in the control could not be detected in any of the fertilized treatments. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the DGGE bands derived from N-fertilized treatments belonged to Nitrosospira cluster 3, indicating that N fertilization resulted in the dominance of Nitrosospira cluster 3 in soil. These results demonstrate that long-term application of N fertilizers could result in increased soil nitrification potential and the AOB community shifts in soil. Our results also showed the different effects of mineral fertilizer N versus organic manure N; the effects of P and K on the soil AOB community; and the importance of balanced fertilization with N, P, and K in promoting nitrification functions in arable soils.
Project description:Soil amended with single biochar or nitrogen (N) fertilizer has frequently been reported to alter soil nitrification process due to its impact on soil properties. However, little is known about the dynamic response of nitrification and ammonia-oxidizers to the combined application of biochar and N fertilizer in intensive vegetable soil. In this study, an incubation experiment was designed to evaluate the effects of biochar and N fertilizer application on soil nitrification, abundance and community shifts of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and ammonia oxidizing archaea (AOA) in Hangzhou greenhouse vegetable soil. Results showed that single application of biochar had no significant effect on soil net nitrification rates and ammonia-oxidizers. Conversely, the application of only N fertilizer and N fertilizer + biochar significantly increased net nitrification rate and the abundance of AOB rather than AOA, and only AOB abundance was significantly correlated with soil net nitrification rate. Moreover, the combined application of N fertilizer and biochar had greater effect on AOB communities than that of the only N fertilizers, and the relative abundance of 156 bp T-RF (Nitrosospira cluster 3c) decreased but 60 bp T-RF (Nitrosospira cluster 3a and cluster 0) increased to become a single predominant group. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that all the AOB sequences were grouped into Nitrosospira cluster, and most of AOA sequences were clustered within group 1.1b. We concluded that soil nitrification was stimulated by the combined application of N fertilizer and biochar via enhancing the abundance and shifting the community composition of AOB rather than AOA in intensive vegetable soil.
Project description:Deposition rates of atmospheric nitrogenous pollutants to forests in the San Bernardino Mountains range east of Los Angeles, California, are the highest reported in North America. Acidic soils from the west end of the range are N-saturated and have elevated rates of N-mineralization, nitrification, and nitrate leaching. We assessed the impact of this heavy nitrogen load on autotrophic ammonia-oxidizing communities by investigating their composition, abundance, and activity. Analysis of 177 cloned beta-Proteobacteria ammonia oxidizer 16S rRNA genes from highly to moderately N-impacted soils revealed similar levels of species composition; all of the soils supported the previously characterized Nitrosospira clusters 2, 3, and 4. Ammonia oxidizer abundance measured by quantitative PCR was also similar among the soils. However, rates of potential nitrification activity were greater for N-saturated soils than for soils collected from a less impacted site, but autotrophic (i.e., acetylene-sensitive) activity was low in all soils examined. N-saturated soils incubated for 30 days with ammonium accumulated additional soluble ammonium, whereas less-N-impacted soils had a net loss of ammonium. Lastly, nitrite production by cultivated Nitrosospira multiformis, an autotrophic ammonia-oxidizing bacterium adapted to relatively high ammonium concentrations, was significantly inhibited in pH-controlled slurries of sterilized soils amended with ammonium despite the maintenance of optimal ammonia-oxidizing conditions. Together, these results showed that factors other than autotrophic ammonia oxidizers contributed to high nitrification rates in these N-impacted forest soils and, unlike many other environments, differences in nitrogen content and soil pH did not favor particular autotrophic ammonia oxidizer groups.