Project description:Soil microbial communities contain the highest level of prokaryotic diversity of any environment, and metagenomic approaches involving the extraction of DNA from soil can improve our access to these communities. Most analyses of soil biodiversity and function assume that the DNA extracted represents the microbial community in the soil, but subsequent interpretations are limited by the DNA recovered from the soil. Unfortunately, extraction methods do not provide a uniform and unbiased subsample of metagenomic DNA, and as a consequence, accurate species distributions cannot be determined. Moreover, any bias will propagate errors in estimations of overall microbial diversity and may exclude some microbial classes from study and exploitation. To improve metagenomic approaches, investigate DNA extraction biases, and provide tools for assessing the relative abundances of different groups, we explored the biodiversity of the accessible community DNA by fractioning the metagenomic DNA as a function of (i) vertical soil sampling, (ii) density gradients (cell separation), (iii) cell lysis stringency, and (iv) DNA fragment size distribution. Each fraction had a unique genetic diversity, with different predominant and rare species (based on ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis [RISA] fingerprinting and phylochips). All fractions contributed to the number of bacterial groups uncovered in the metagenome, thus increasing the DNA pool for further applications. Indeed, we were able to access a more genetically diverse proportion of the metagenome (a gain of more than 80% compared to the best single extraction method), limit the predominance of a few genomes, and increase the species richness per sequencing effort. This work stresses the difference between extracted DNA pools and the currently inaccessible complete soil metagenome.
Project description:Recent progress in molecular microbial ecology has revealed that traditional culturing methods fail to represent the scope of microbial diversity in nature, since only a small proportion of viable microorganisms in a sample are recovered by culturing techniques. To develop methods to investigate the full extent of microbial diversity, we used a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) vector to construct libraries of genomic DNA isolated directly from soil (termed metagenomic libraries). To date, we have constructed two such libraries, which contain more than 1 Gbp of DNA. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences recovered from one of the libraries indicates that the BAC libraries contain DNA from a wide diversity of microbial phyla, including sequences from diverse taxa such as the low-G+C, gram-positive Acidobacterium, Cytophagales, and Proteobacteria. Initial screening of the libraries in Escherichia coli identified several clones that express heterologous genes from the inserts, confirming that the BAC vector can be used to maintain, express, and analyze environmental DNA. The phenotypes expressed by these clones include antibacterial, lipase, amylase, nuclease, and hemolytic activities. Metagenomic libraries are a powerful tool for exploring soil microbial diversity, providing access to the genetic information of uncultured soil microorganisms. Such libraries will be the basis of new initiatives to conduct genomic studies that link phylogenetic and functional information about the microbiota of environments dominated by microorganisms that are refractory to cultivation.
Project description:The experiment at three long-term agricultural experimental stations (namely the N, M and S sites) across northeast to southeast China was setup and operated by the Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences. This experiment belongs to an integrated project (The Soil Reciprocal Transplant Experiment, SRTE) which serves as a platform for a number of studies evaluating climate and cropping effects on soil microbial diversity and its agro-ecosystem functioning. Soil transplant serves as a proxy to simulate climate change in realistic climate regimes. Here, we assessed the effects of soil type, soil transplant and landuse changes on soil microbial communities, which are key drivers in Earth’s biogeochemical cycles. Overall design: Eighty one samples were collected from three soil types (Mollisol,Inceptisol,Ultisol) in three sites (Hailun, Fengqiu and Yingtan) along a latitude with reciprocal transplant; With three treatment of bare fallow soil, maize cropping soil and NPK fertilization soil in each site; Three replicates in every treatments.
Project description:Rubber is a polymer of isoprene, consisting mainly of cis-1,4-polyisoprene units. The unmanageable production and its irresponsible disposal pose severe threats to environmental ecology. Therefore, the current study focuses extensively on the ill-effects of Rubber disposal on soil microbial functional diversity as it reflects the health of ecosystem by acting as a key component in ecosystem productivity. To investigate the effect of Rubber on soil microbial functional diversity, soil samples were collected from landfill sites and three different soil microcosms (Rubber treated, untreated, and sterile soil) were prepared. The soil enzymatic activity was determined by fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis followed by the determination of the microbial metabolic potential and functional diversity by average well color development and Shannon-Weaver index (H), respectively. BiOLOG ECO plates were used for determining the microbial functional diversity of the soil microcosms. Higher heterotrophic microbial count as well as higher soil microbial activity was observed in Rubber untreated soil than Rubber treated soil microcosm. The result indicated that the addition of Rubber to soil reduced soil heterotrophic microbial count and soil microbial activity considerably. Similarly, soil microbial metabolic potential as well as microbial functional diversity of soil had been decreased by the addition of Rubber gloves in it. Variation in soil microbial metabolic spectrum between Rubber treated and untreated microcosm was confirmed by multivariate analysis. Collectively, all the results demonstrated that the addition of Rubber to soil reduced the soil microbial functional diversity considerably. Therefore, it is necessary for the commission of serious steps regarding Rubber disposal and protection of the environment from serious environmental issues.
Project description:Soils harbor large, diverse microbial communities critical for local and global ecosystem functioning that are controlled by multiple and poorly understood processes. In particular, while there is observational evidence of relationships between both biotic and abiotic conditions and microbial composition and diversity, there have been few experimental tests to determine the relative importance of these two sets of factors at local scales. Here, we report the results of a fully factorial experiment manipulating soil conditions and plant cover on old-field mesocosms across a latitudinal gradient. The largest contributor to beta diversity was site-to-site variation, but, having corrected for that, we observed significant effects of both plant and soil treatments on microbial composition. Separate phyla were associated with each treatment type, and no interactions between soil and plant treatment were observed. Individual soil characteristics and biotic parameters were also associated with overall beta-diversity patterns and phyla abundance. In contrast, soil microbial diversity was only associated with site and not experimental treatment. Overall, plant community treatment explained more variation than soil treatment, a result not previously appreciated because it is difficult to dissociate plant community composition and soil conditions in observational studies across gradients. This work highlights the need for more nuanced, multifactorial experiments in microbial ecology and in particular indicates a greater focus on relationships between plant composition and microbial composition during community assembly.
Project description:A microbial community analysis of forest soil from Jindong Valley, Korea, revealed that the most abundant rRNA genes were related to Acidobacteria, a major taxon with few cultured representatives. To access the microbial genetic resources of this forest soil, metagenomic libraries were constructed in fosmids, with an average DNA insert size of more than 35 kb. We constructed 80,500 clones from Yuseong and 33,200 clones from Jindong Valley forest soils. The double-agar-layer method allowed us to select two antibacterial clones by screening the constructed libraries using Bacillus subtilis as a target organism. Several clones produced purple or brown colonies. One of the selected antibacterial clones, pJEC5, produced purple colonies. Structural analysis of the purified pigments demonstrated that the metagenomic clone produced both the pigment indirubin and its isomer, indigo blue, resulting in purple colonies. In vitro mutational and subclonal analyses revealed that two open reading frames (ORFs) are responsible for the pigment production and antibacterial activity. The ORFs encode an oxygenase-like protein and a putative transcriptional regulator. Mutations of the gene encoding the oxygenase canceled both pigment production and antibacterial activity, whereas a subclone carrying the two ORFs retained pigment production and antibacterial activity. This finding suggests that these forest soil microbial genes are responsible for producing the pigment with antibacterial activity.
Project description:Tropical rainforests cover over 50% of all known plant and animal species and provide a variety of key resources and ecosystem services to humans, largely mediated by metabolic activities of soil microbial communities. A deep analysis of soil microbial communities and their roles in ecological processes would improve our understanding on biogeochemical elemental cycles. However, soil microbial functional gene diversity in tropical rainforests and causative factors remain unclear. GeoChip, contained almost all of the key functional genes related to biogeochemical cycles, could be used as a specific and sensitive tool for studying microbial gene diversity and metabolic potential. In this study, soil microbial functional gene diversity in tropical rainforest was analyzed by using GeoChip technology.Gene categories detected in the tropical rainforest soils were related to different biogeochemical processes, such as carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) cycling. The relative abundance of genes related to C and P cycling detected mostly derived from the cultured bacteria. C degradation gene categories for substrates ranging from labile C to recalcitrant C were all detected, and gene abundances involved in many recalcitrant C degradation gene categories were significantly (P?<?0.05) different among three sampling sites. The relative abundance of genes related to N cycling detected was significantly (P?<?0.05) different, mostly derived from the uncultured bacteria. The gene categories related to ammonification had a high relative abundance. Both canonical correspondence analysis and multivariate regression tree analysis showed that soil available N was the most correlated with soil microbial functional gene structure.Overall high microbial functional gene diversity and different soil microbial metabolic potential for different biogeochemical processes were considered to exist in tropical rainforest. Soil available N could be the key factor in shaping the soil microbial functional gene structure and metabolic potential.
Project description:Soils are a sink for sulfidised-silver nanoparticles (Ag2S-NPs), yet there are limited ecotoxicity data for their effects on microbial communities. Conventional toxicity tests typically target a single test species or function, which does not reflect the broader community response. Using a combination of quantitative PCR, 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing and species sensitivity distribution (SSD) methods, we have developed a new approach to calculate silver-based NP toxicity thresholds (HCx, hazardous concentrations) that are protective of specific members (operational taxonomic units, OTUs) of the soil microbial community. At the HC20 (80% of species protected), soil OTUs were significantly less sensitive to Ag2S-NPs compared to AgNPs and Ag+ (5.9, 1.4 and 1.4 mg Ag kg-1, respectively). However at more conservative HC values, there were no significant differences. These trends in OTU responses matched with those seen in a specific microbial function (rate of nitrification) and amoA-bacteria gene abundance. This study provides a novel molecular-based framework for quantifying the effect of a toxicant on whole soil microbial communities while still determining sensitive genera/species. Methods and results described here provide a benchmark for microbial community ecotoxicological studies and we recommend that future revisions of Soil Quality Guidelines for AgNPs and other such toxicants consider this approach.
Project description:The period when the snowpack melts in late spring is a dynamic time for alpine ecosystems. The large winter microbial community begins to turn over rapidly, releasing nutrients to plants. Past studies have shown that the soil microbial community in alpine dry meadows of the Colorado Rocky Mountains changes in biomass, function, broad-level structure, and fungal diversity between winter and early summer. However, little specific information exists on the diversity of the alpine bacterial community or how it changes during this ecologically important period. We constructed clone libraries of 16S ribosomal DNA from alpine soil collected in winter, spring, and summer. We also cultivated bacteria from the alpine soil and measured the seasonal abundance of selected cultured isolates in hybridization experiments. The uncultured bacterial communities changed between seasons in diversity and abundance within taxa. The Acidobacterium division was most abundant in the spring. The winter community had the highest proportion of Actinobacteria and members of the Cytophaga/Flexibacter/Bacteroides (CFB) division. The summer community had the highest proportion of the Verrucomicrobium division and of beta-PROTEOBACTERIA: As a whole, alpha-Proteobacteria were equally abundant in all seasons, although seasonal changes may have occurred within this group. A number of sequences from currently uncultivated divisions were found, including two novel candidate divisions. The cultured isolates belonged to the alpha-, beta-, and gamma-Proteobacteria, the Actinobacteria, and the CFB groups. The only uncultured sequences that were closely related to the isolates were from winter and spring libraries. Hybridization experiments showed that actinobacterial and beta-proteobacterial isolates were most abundant during winter, while the alpha- and gamma-proteobacterial isolates tested did not vary significantly. While the cultures and clone libraries produced generally distinct groups of organisms, the two approaches gave consistent accounts of seasonal changes in microbial diversity.
Project description:Soil transplant serves as a proxy to simulate climate change in realistic climate regimes. Here, we assessed the effects of climate warming and cooling on soil microbial communities, which are key drivers in Earth’s biogeochemical cycles, four years after soil transplant over large transects from northern (N site) to central (NC site) and southern China (NS site) and vice versa. Four years after soil transplant, soil nitrogen components, microbial biomass, community phylogenetic and functional structures were altered. Microbial functional diversity, measured by a metagenomic tool named GeoChip, and phylogenetic diversity are increased with temperature, while microbial biomass were similar or decreased. Nevertheless, the effects of climate change was overridden by maize cropping, underscoring the need to disentangle them in research. Mantel tests and canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) demonstrated that vegetation, climatic factors (e.g., temperature and precipitation), soil nitrogen components and CO2 efflux were significantly correlated to the microbial community composition. Further investigation unveiled strong correlations between carbon cycling genes and CO2 efflux in bare soil but not cropped soil, and between nitrogen cycling genes and nitrification, which provides mechanistic understanding of these microbe-mediated processes and empowers an interesting possibility of incorporating bacterial gene abundance in greenhouse gas emission modeling. Fifty four samples were collected from three soil types (Phaeozem,Cambisol,Acrisol) in three sites (Hailun, Fengqiu and Yingtan) along a latitude with reciprocal transplant; Both with and without maize cropping in each site; Three replicates in every treatments.