Successive DNA extractions improve characterization of soil microbial communities.
ABSTRACT: Currently, characterization of soil microbial communities relies heavily on the use of molecular approaches. Independently of the approach used, soil DNA extraction is a crucial step, and success of downstream procedures will depend on how well DNA extraction was performed. Often, studies describing and comparing soil microbial communities are based on a single DNA extraction, which may not lead to a representative recovery of DNA from all organisms present in the soil. The use of successive DNA extractions might improve soil microbial characterization, but the benefit of this approach has only been limitedly studied. To determine whether successive DNA extractions of the same soil sample would lead to different observations in terms of microbial abundance and community composition, we performed three successive extractions, with two widely used commercial kits, on a range of clay and sandy soils. Successive extractions increased DNA yield considerably (1-374%), as well as total bacterial and fungal abundances in most of the soil samples. Analysis of the 16S and 18S ribosomal RNA genes using 454-pyrosequencing, revealed that microbial community composition (taxonomic groups) observed in the successive DNA extractions were similar. However, successive DNA extractions did reveal several additional microbial groups. For some soil samples, shifts in microbial community composition were observed, mainly due to shifts in relative abundance of a number of microbial groups. Our results highlight that performing successive DNA extractions optimize DNA yield, and can lead to a better picture of overall community composition.
Project description:DNA extraction bias is a frequently cited but poorly understood limitation of molecular characterizations of environmental microbial communities. To assess the bias of a commonly used soil DNA extraction kit, we varied the cell lysis protocol and conducted multiple extractions on subsamples of clay, sand, and organic soils. DNA, as well as bacterial and fungal ribosomal gene copies as measured by quantitative PCR, continued to be isolated in successive extractions. When terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism was used, a significant shift in community composition due to extraction bias was detected for bacteria but not for fungi. Pyrosequencing indicated that the relative abundances of sequences from rarely cultivated groups such as Acidobacteria, Gemmatimonades, and Verrucomicrobia were higher in the first extraction than in the sixth but that the reverse was true for Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria. This suggests that the well-known phylum-level bacterial cultivation bias may be partially exaggerated by DNA extraction bias. We conclude that bias can be adequately reduced in many situations by pooling three successive extractions, and additional measures should be considered when divergent soil types are compared or when comprehensive community analysis is necessary.
Project description:In many of the DNA-based stable-isotope probing (SIP) studies published to date in which soil communities were investigated, a single DNA extraction was performed on the soil sample, usually using a commercial DNA extraction kit, prior to recovering the (13)C-labeled (heavy) DNA by density-gradient ultracentrifugation. Recent evidence suggests, however, that a single extraction of a soil sample may not lead to representative recovery of DNA from all of the organisms in the sample. To determine whether multiple DNA extractions would affect the DNA yield, the eubacterial 16S rRNA gene copy number, or the identification of anthracene-degrading bacteria, we performed seven successive DNA extractions on the same aliquot of contaminated soil either untreated or enriched with [U-(13)C]anthracene. Multiple extractions were necessary to maximize the DNA yield and 16S rRNA gene copy number from both untreated and anthracene-enriched soil samples. Sequences within the order Sphingomonadales, but unrelated to any previously described genus, dominated the 16S rRNA gene clone libraries derived from (13)C-enriched DNA and were designated "anthracene group 1." Sequences clustering with Variovorax spp., which were also highly represented, and sequences related to the genus Pigmentiphaga were newly associated with anthracene degradation. The bacterial groups collectively identified across all seven extracts were all recovered in the first extract, although quantitative PCR analysis of SIP-identified groups revealed quantitative differences in extraction patterns. These results suggest that performing multiple DNA extractions on soil samples improves the extractable DNA yield and the number of quantifiable eubacterial 16S rRNA gene copies but have little qualitative effect on the identification of the bacterial groups associated with the degradation of a given carbon source by SIP.
Project description:Soil DNA extraction encounters numerous challenges that can affect both yield and purity of the recovered DNA. Clay particles lead to reduced DNA extraction efficiency, and PCR inhibitors from the soil matrix can negatively affect downstream analyses when applying DNA sequencing. Further, these effects impede molecular analysis of bacterial community compositions in lower biomass samples, as often observed in deeper soil layers. Many studies avoid these complications by using indirect DNA extraction with prior separation of the cells from the matrix, but such methods introduce other biases that influence the resulting microbial community composition. To address these issues, a direct DNA extraction method was applied in combination with the use of a commercial product, the G2 DNA/RNA Enhancer, marketed as being capable of improving the amount of DNA recovered after the lysis step. The results showed that application of G2 increased DNA yields from the studied clayey soils from layers from 1.00 to 2.20 m. Importantly, the use of G2 did not introduce bias, as it did not result in any significant differences in the biodiversity of the bacterial community measured in terms of alpha and beta diversity and taxonomical composition. Finally, this study considered a set of customised lysing tubes for evaluating possible influences on the DNA yield. Tubes customization included different bead sizes and amounts, along with lysing tubes coming from two suppliers. Results showed that the lysing tubes with mixed beads allowed greater DNA recovery compared to the use of either 0.1 or 1.4 mm beads, irrespective of the tube supplier. These outcomes may help to improve commercial products in DNA/RNA extraction kits, besides raising awareness about the optimal choice of additives, offering opportunities for acquiring a better understanding of topics such as vertical microbial characterisation and environmental DNA recovery in low biomass samples.
Project description:We examined the effect of different soil sample sizes obtained from an agricultural field, under a single cropping system uniform in soil properties and aboveground crop responses, on bacterial and fungal community structure and microbial diversity indices. DNA extracted from soil sample sizes of 0.25, 1, 5, and 10 g using MoBIO kits and from 10 and 100 g sizes using a bead-beating method (SARDI) were used as templates for high-throughput sequencing of 16S and 28S rRNA gene amplicons for bacteria and fungi, respectively, on the Illumina MiSeq and Roche 454 platforms. Sample size significantly affected overall bacterial and fungal community structure, replicate dispersion and the number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) retrieved. Richness, evenness and diversity were also significantly affected. The largest diversity estimates were always associated with the 10 g MoBIO extractions with a corresponding reduction in replicate dispersion. For the fungal data, smaller MoBIO extractions identified more unclassified Eukaryota incertae sedis and unclassified glomeromycota while the SARDI method retrieved more abundant OTUs containing unclassified Pleosporales and the fungal genera Alternaria and Cercophora. Overall, these findings indicate that a 10 g soil DNA extraction is most suitable for both soil bacterial and fungal communities for retrieving optimal diversity while still capturing rarer taxa in concert with decreasing replicate variation.
Project description:Climate change can influence soil microorganisms directly by altering their growth and activity but also indirectly via effects on the vegetation, which modifies the availability of resources. Direct impacts of climate change on soil microorganisms can occur rapidly, whereas indirect effects mediated by shifts in plant community composition are not immediately apparent and likely to increase over time. We used molecular fingerprinting of bacterial and fungal communities in the soil to investigate the effects of 17 years of temperature and rainfall manipulations in a species-rich grassland near Buxton, UK. We compared shifts in microbial community structure to changes in plant species composition and key plant traits across 78 microsites within plots subjected to winter heating, rainfall supplementation, or summer drought. We observed marked shifts in soil fungal and bacterial community structure in response to chronic summer drought. Importantly, although dominant microbial taxa were largely unaffected by drought, there were substantial changes in the abundances of subordinate fungal and bacterial taxa. In contrast to short-term studies that report high resistance of soil fungi to drought, we observed substantial losses of fungal taxa in the summer drought treatments. There was moderate concordance between soil microbial communities and plant species composition within microsites. Vector fitting of community-weighted mean plant traits to ordinations of soil bacterial and fungal communities showed that shifts in soil microbial community structure were related to plant traits representing the quality of resources available to soil microorganisms: the construction cost of leaf material, foliar carbon-to-nitrogen ratios, and leaf dry matter content. Thus, our study provides evidence that climate change could affect soil microbial communities indirectly via changes in plant inputs and highlights the importance of considering long-term climate change effects, especially in nutrient-poor systems with slow-growing vegetation.
Project description:Metagenomics approaches and recent improvements in the next-generation sequencing methods, have become a method of choice in establishing a microbial population structure. Many commercial soil DNA extraction kits are available and due to their efficiency they are replacing traditional extraction protocols. However, differences in the physicochemical properties of soil samples require optimization of DNA extraction techniques for each sample separately. The aim of this study was to compare the efficiency, quality, and diversity of genetic material extracted with the use of commonly used kits. The comparative analysis of microbial community composition, displayed differences in microbial community structure depending on which kit was used. Statistical analysis indicated significant differences in recovery of the genetic material for 24 out of 32 analyzed phyla, and the most pronounced differences were seen for Actinobacteria. Also, diversity indexes and reproducibility of DNA extraction with the use of a given kit, varied among the tested methods. As the extraction protocol may influence the apparent structure of a microbial population, at the beginning of each project many extraction kits should be tested in order to choose one that would yield the most representative results and present the closest view to the actual structure of microbial population.
Project description:With the emergence of large-scale epidemiologic human microbiome studies, there is a need to understand the reproducibility of microbial DNA sequencing and the impact of specimen collection and processing methods on measures of microbial community composition and structure, with reproducibility studies in infants and young children particularly lacking. Here, we examined batch-to-batch variability and reliability of collection, handling, and processing protocols, testing replicate stool samples from infants and young children using Illumina MiSeq sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene V4-V5 hypervariable region, evaluating 33 conditions with different protocols and extraction methods. We detected no evidence of batch effects in replicate DNA samples or extractions from the same stool sample. Variability in DNA yield and alpha diversity was observed between the different collection, handling, and processing protocols. However, across all protocols, subject variability was the dominant contributor to microbiome structure, with comparatively little impact of the protocol used. While collection method and DNA extraction kit may affect DNA yield, and correspondingly alpha diversity, our findings suggest that characterization of the structure and composition of the fecal microbiome of infants and young children are reliably measurable by standardized collection, handling, and processing protocols and DNA extraction methods within an individual longitudinal study.
Project description:Advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies allow a more complete study of microbial plankton community composition and diversity, especially in the rare microbial biosphere. The DNA extraction of plankton is a key step for such studies; however, little is known about its influences on the abundant or rare microbial biosphere. Our aim was to quantify the influences of different DNA extraction kits on abundant and rare plankton in the surface waters of a reservoir and provide a reference for the comparisons between microbial community studies with different extraction methods. We evaluated the influence of five common commercial kits on DNA quality, microbial community diversity and composition, and the reproducibility of methods using both 16S and 18S rRNA genes amplicon sequencing. Our data showed that results of Fast DNA Spin Kit for Soil (MPF) had higher ? diversity for bacteria and high DNA quality, indicating that it is the most suitable approach for bacterioplankton diversity study. However, DNeasy Blood & Tissue Kit (QD) and QIAamp DNA Mini Kit (QQ) methods could produce results that are easier to replicate for bacteria and eukaryotes, respectively, and were more comparable between studies. The use of different DNA extraction kits had larger influence on the rare taxa compared with abundant taxa. Therefore, the comparability between studies that employed different extraction methods can be improved by removing low-abundance or less-representative OTUs. Collectively, this study provides a comprehensive assessment of the biases associated with DNA extraction for plankton communities from a freshwater reservoir. Our results may guide researchers in experimental design choices for DNA-based ecological studies in aquatic ecosystem.
Project description:Rhizosphere microbes in forests are key elements of the carbon sequestration of terrestrial ecosystems. To date, little is known about how the diversity and species interactions of the active rhizomicrobial community change during soil carbon sequestration and what interactions drive these changes. In this study, we used a combination of DNA and stable isotope method to explore correlations between the composition of microbial communities, N transformation, and the sequestration de novo of carbon in soils around Pinus tabuliformis and Quercus variabilis roots in North China. Rhizosphere soils from degraded lands, primary stage land (tree roots had colonized in degraded soil for 1 year), and nature forest were sampled for analyses. The results showed that microbial communities and newly sequestered soil organic carbon (SOC) contents changed with different tree species, environments, and successive stages. The fungal unweighted and weighted UniFrac distances could better show the different microbial species structures and differences in successive stages. Newly sequestered SOC was positively correlated with the bacterial order Rhizobiales (in P. tabuliformis forests), the fungal order Russulales (in Q. variabilis forests), and ?15N. Consequently, the bacterial order Rhizobiales acted as an important taxa for P. tabuliformis root-driven carbon sequestration, and the fungal order Russulales acted as an important taxa for Q. variabilis root-driven carbon sequestration. The two plant species allocated root exudates to different portion of their root systems, which in turn altered microbial community composition and function. The ?15N of soil organic matter could be an important indicator to estimate root-driven carbon sequestration.
Project description:The ecological mechanisms driving community succession are widely debated, particularly for microorganisms. While successional soil microbial communities are known to undergo predictable changes in structure concomitant with shifts in a variety of edaphic properties, the causal mechanisms underlying these patterns are poorly understood. Thus, to specifically isolate how nutrients--important drivers of plant succession--affect soil microbial succession, we established a full factorial nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilization plot experiment in recently deglaciated (?3 years since exposure), unvegetated soils of the Puca Glacier forefield in Southeastern Peru. We evaluated soil properties and examined bacterial community composition in plots before and one year after fertilization. Fertilized soils were then compared to samples from three reference successional transects representing advancing stages of soil development ranging from 5 years to 85 years since exposure. We found that a single application of +NP fertilizer caused the soil bacterial community structure of the three-year old soils to most resemble the 85-year old soils after one year. Despite differences in a variety of soil edaphic properties between fertilizer plots and late successional soils, bacterial community composition of +NP plots converged with late successional communities. Thus, our work suggests a mechanism for microbial succession whereby changes in resource availability drive shifts in community composition, supporting a role for nutrient colimitation in primary succession. These results suggest that nutrients alone, independent of other edaphic factors that change with succession, act as an important control over soil microbial community development, greatly accelerating the rate of succession.