Effects of inorganic fertilizer and manure on soil archaeal abundance at two experimental farms during three consecutive rotation-cropping seasons.

Chan, Y.-K., McCormick, W.A., and Ma, B.-L. (2013). "Effects of inorganic fertilizer and manure on soil archaeal abundance at two experimental farms during three consecutive rotation-cropping seasons.", Applied Soil Ecology, 68, pp. 26-35. doi : 10.1016/j.apsoil.2013.03.004  Access to full text

Abstract

Soil archaeal population dynamics at two experimental sites of the same clay-loam type in Ottawa and Woodslee, Ontario, were investigated to determine fertilizer and manure effects following their different long-term crop rotation and fertilization schemes. Phylogenetic analysis of cloned soil archaeal 16S rRNA gene libraries of both sites identified them with group 1.1b of Thaumarchaeota. The gene population dynamics subtly varied in the order of 107copiesg-1 soil when monitored by quantitative real-time PCR during three growing seasons (2007-2009). In Ottawa, where plots were amended with dairy-farm manure, soil thaumarchaeal gene abundance was double of the unamended plots. At the Woodslee N-P-K-fertilized plots, it remained at least 30% fewer than that of the unfertilized ones. These cultivated plots showed soil carbon limitation while the fertilized ones were low in soil pH (ca. 5.5). Surface soils from an unfertilized sod plot and an adjacent deciduous forest had higher total carbon content (C:N ratio of 9 and 11, respectively). Their thaumarchaeal gene abundance varied up to 4.8×107 and 7.0×107copiesg-1 soil, respectively. The former value was also attained at the manure-amended plots in Ottawa, where the C:N ratio was just below 10. Where soil pH was above 6.0, there was a weak and positive correlation between soil total C and the estimated gene abundance. Such gene population dynamics consistently demonstrated the stimulating and suppressive effects of dairy-farm manure (Ottawa site) and inorganic fertilizers (Woodslee site), respectively, on soil thaumarchaea. At both sites archaeal A and 16S rRNA gene abundance were similarly affected. Archaeal amoA gene abundance also outnumbered bacterial amoA abundance, suggesting that ammonia-oxidizing archaea might be dominant in these soils. Only minor crop effects on gene population dynamics were detected.

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