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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1996 January; 62(1): 244–248.
PMCID: PMC1388754

Diversity of Soil Actinomycetes in Yunnan, China


Since 1978, about 4,200 soil samples have been collected from 22 selected areas of various vegetational and climatic types throughout the province of Yunnan. Actinomycetes of 29 genera were isolated by the methods employed. The correlations between diversity and climate were grouped into tropical, subtropical plateau, cool temperate mountain, and snowy mountain types. Actinomycete populations of the first two types were more complex than were the other ones. Correlations between actinomycete diversity and vegetation were also attempted. Six types of vegetation were compared. The diversity of actinomycetes was greatest in soil samples of a primeval forest, with an average of 9.0 genera isolated, followed by secondary forest and vegetable farmland samples, with averages of 6.7 and 6.5 genera isolated, respectively. The upper limit for the occurrence of thermophilic actinomycetes is about 3,500 m above sea level in Yunnan. Psychrophilic actinomycetes were isolated at up to the same altitude. In addition, the drier and poorer the soil was and the cooler the climate was, the lower the count of actinomycetes was and the higher the percentage of streptomycetes observed was. The genus Streptomyces appears to be the most important in ecological function. It represents up to 90% of all soil actinomycete diversity in Yunnan and is likely an important characteristic of the soil actinomycete population.

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