The effects of the non-fumigant nematicide imicyafos on soil nematode community structure and damage to radish caused by Pratylenchus penetrans were evaluated in two field experiments in consecutive years (2007 and 2008). Nematode densities in soil at 0 - 10 cm (the depth of nematicide incorporation) and 10 - 30 cm were measured. The application of imicyafos had a significant impact on the density of P. penetrans at 0 - 10 cm but had no effect on free-living nematode density. PCR-DGGE analysis conducted using extracted nematodes showed that the nematode community structure 12 d after application in 2007 was altered by the application of imicyafos at the 0 - 10 cm depth, but not at 10 - 30 cm. No significant differences were observed in the diversity of the nematode community at harvest (89 and 91 d after application) between the control and imicyafos treatments in both depths and both years. In both years, the damage to radish caused by P. penetrans was markedly suppressed by the nematicide. Overall, the nematicide imicyafos decreased populations of P. penetrans in soil and thereby decreased damage to radish, while having little impact on the soil nematode community.
free-living nematode; granular nematicide; imicyafos; lesion nematode; management; non-target effect; PCR-DGGE
The soybean cyst nematode (SCN), Heterodera glycines, can cause significant reductions in soybean yield and quality in many parts of the world. Natural biological control may play an important role in regulating SCN population. In this study the bacterial communities associated with SCN cysts obtained from fields under different lengths of soybean monoculture were explored. Soil samples were collected in 2010 and 2011 from six fields that had been used for soybean monoculture for 2 to 41 yr. SCN population densities were determined and bacterial communities from SCN cysts were investigated by Biolog and PCR-DGGE methods. SCN population densities initially increased in the first 5 yr of soybean monoculture but then declined steeply as years of soybean monoculture increased. Catabolic diversity of bacterial communities associated with cysts tended to decline as number of years of monoculture increased. Some specific PCR-DGGE bands, mainly representing Streptomyces and Rhizobium, were obtained from the cysts collected from the long-term monoculture fields. Principal component analysis of Biolog and PCR-DGGE data revealed that bacterial communities associated with cysts could be divided into two groups: those from cysts obtained from shorter (< 8 yr) vs. longer (> 8 yr) monoculture. This research demonstrates that the composition of the bacterial communities obtained from SCN cysts changes with length of soybean monoculture; the suppressive impact of these bacterial communities to SCN is yet to be determined.
bacterial community; biodiversity; biological control; cyst; Heterodera glycines; monoculture; soybean; soybean cyst nematode
Chinese pine (Pinus tabulaeformis Carr.) is widely planted for restoration in destroyed ecosystems of the Loess Plateau in China. Although soil microbial communities are important subsurface components of the terrestrial ecosystems, little is known about fungal and bacterial communities in the rhizosphere of planted and natural P. tabulaeformis forests in the region. In this study, fungal and bacterial communities in the rhizosphere of P. tabulaeformis were analyzed by nested PCR-DGGE (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis). Diversity analysis revealed that the values of the Shannon-Wiener index (H) and the Simpson index (D) of fungal communities were higher in natural secondary forests than in plantations except for the 3-year-old site. Moreover, the values of species richness, H, and D of the bacterial communities were also higher in the former. Totally, 18 fungal and 19 bacterial DGGE band types were successfully retrieved and sequenced. The dominant fungi in the rhizosphere of P. tabulaeformis belonged to the phylum of Basidiomycota, while the dominant bacteria belonged to the phylum of Proteobacteria. Principal component analysis indicated that fungal and bacterial species were more unitary in plantations than in natural secondary forests, and the majority of them were more likely to appear in the latter. Correlation analysis showed no significant correlation between the fungal and bacterial community diversities.
Changes in soil microbial community structure and diversity may reflect environmental impact. We examined 16S rRNA gene fingerprints of bacterial communities in six agroecosystems by PCR amplification and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) separation. These soils were treated with manure for over a century or different fertilizers for over 70 years. Bacterial community structure and diversity were affected by soil management practices, as evidenced by changes in the PCR-DGGE banding patterns. Bacterial community structure in the manure-treated soil was more closely related to the structure in the untreated soil than that in soils treated with inorganic fertilizers. Lime treatment had little effect on bacterial community structure. Soils treated with P and N-P had bacterial community structures more closely related to each other than to those of soils given other treatments. Among the soils tested, a significantly higher number of bacterial ribotypes and a more even distribution of the bacterial community existed in the manure-treated soil. Of the 99 clones obtained from the soil treated with manure for over a century, two (both Pseudomonas spp.) exhibited 100% similarity to sequences in the GenBank database. Two of the clones were possible chimeras. Based on similarity matching, the remaining 97 clones formed six major clusters. Fifty-six out of 97 were assigned taxonomic units which grouped into five major taxa: α-, β-, and γ-Proteobacteria (36 clones), Acidobacteria (16 clones), Bacteroidetes (2 clones), Nitrospirae (1 clone), and Firmicutes (1 clone). Forty-one clones remained unclassified. Results from this study suggested that bacterial community structure was closely related to agroecosystem management practices conducted for over 70 years.
We studied soil nematode communities from the surface of granite flatrock outcrops in the eastern Piedmont region of the United States. The thin soils that develop here experience high light intensity and extreme fluctuations in temperature and moisture and host unique plant communities. We collected soils from outcrop microsites in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC) in various stages of succession (Primitive, Minimal, and Mature) and compared soil properties and nematode communities to those of adjacent forest soils. Nematodes were present in most outcrop soils, with densities comparable to forest soils (P > 0.05). Nematode communities in Mature and Minimal soils had lower species richness than forest soils (P < 0.05) and contained more bacterial-feeders and fewer fungal-feeders (P < 0.05). Primitive soils contained either no nematodes (NC) or only a single species (Mesodorylaimus sp., VA). Nematode communities were similar between Mature and Minimal soils, according to trophic group representation, MI, PPI, EI, SI, and CI (P > 0.05). Forest soils had a higher PPI value (P < 0.05), but otherwise community indices were similar to outcrop soils (P > 0.05). Outcrop nematode communities failed to group together in a Bray-Curtis cluster analysis, indicating higher variability in community structure than the Forest soils, which did cluster together. A high proportion of the nematodes were extracted from outcrop soils in coiled form (33-89%), indicating that they used anhydrobiosis to persist in this unique environment.
Anhydrobiosis; community structure; diversity; ecology; granite flatrock outcrops; Maturity index; nematode survival; primary succession
Recent advances in DNA sequencing technologies have allowed scientists to probe increasingly complex biological systems, including the diversity of bacteria in the environment. However, despite a multitude of recent studies incorporating these methods, many questions regarding how environmental samples should be collected and stored still persist. Here, we assess the impact of different soil storage conditions on microbial community composition using Illumina-based 16S rRNA V4 amplicon sequencing. Both storage time and temperature affected bacterial community composition and structure. Frozen samples maintained the highest alpha diversity and differed least in beta diversity, suggesting the utility of cold storage for maintaining consistent communities. Samples stored for intermediate times (three and seven days) had both the highest alpha diversity and the largest differences in overall beta diversity, showing the degree of community change after sample collection. These divergences notwithstanding, differences in neither storage time nor storage temperature substantially altered overall communities relative to more than 500 previously examined soil samples. These results systematically support previous studies and stress the importance of methodological consistency for accurate characterization and comparison of soil microbiological assemblages.
Nematode-resistant tropical legumes are effective in reducing populations of plant-parasitic nematodes when used in rotation systems. Mixed cropping is a common practice of many small farmers in Central America, but little is known about the effects of tropical legumes on nematode communities under these systems. To examine the effects of intercropping on the nematode fauna associated with squash (Cucurbita pepo) and cucumber (Cucumis sativa) in Honduras, two field experiments were conducted to compare nematode density and diversity in soil under cucurbits grown as a monocrop with that in soil under cucurbits intercropped with alfalfa (Medicago sativa) or hairy indigo (Indigofera hirsuta). A parallel series of field tests compared soil nematode communities associated with a cucurbit monocrop and a cucurbit intercropped with marigold (Tagetes patula), which may decrease nematode populations through the production of toxic root exudates. Among all four tests, over a period of 90 days, there were no consistent differences in densities of various nematode genera or trophic groups in intercropped versus monocropped plants, nor were there consistent differences in community diversities among treatments.
agroecology; cropping system; ecology; intercropping; mixed cropping; nematode; nematode community
Fungal and actinobacterial communities were analyzed together with soil chemistry and enzyme activities in order to profile the microbial diversity associated with the economically important mushroom Tricholoma matsutake. Samples of mycelium-soil aggregation (shiro) were collected from three experimental sites where sporocarps naturally formed. PCR was used to confirm the presence and absence of matsutake in soil samples. PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting and direct sequencing were used to identify fungi and actinobacteria in the mineral and organic soil layers separately. Soil enzyme activities and hemicellulotic carbohydrates were analyzed in a productive experimental site. Soil chemistry was investigated in both organic and mineral soil layers at all three experimental sites. Matsutake dominated in the shiro but also coexisted with a high diversity of fungi and actinobacteria. Tomentollopsis sp. in the organic layer above the shiro and Piloderma sp. in the shiro correlated positively with the presence of T. matsutake in all experimental sites. A Thermomonosporaceae bacterium and Nocardia sp. correlated positively with the presence of T. matsutake, and Streptomyces sp. was a common cohabitant in the shiro, although these operational taxonomic units (OTUs) did not occur at all sites. Significantly higher enzyme activity levels were detected in shiro soil. These enzymes are involved in the mobilization of carbon from organic matter decomposition. Matsutake was not associated with a particular soil chemistry compared to that of nearby sites where the fungus does not occur. The presence of a significant hemicellulose pool and the enzymes to degrade it indicates the potential for obtaining carbon from the soil rather than tree roots.
This study investigated the development of fungal community composition in arable soil during the degradation of straw residue. We explored the short-term responses of the fungal community over 28 days of decomposition in soil using culture-independent polymerase chain reaction in combination with a clone library and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Fungal cellobiohydrolase I (cbhI) genes in the soil were also characterized, and their diversity suggested the existence of a different cellulose decomposer. The DGGE profiles based on fungal internal transcribed spacer analysis showed different successions of fungal populations during residue decomposition. Members of Lecythophora and Sordariales were dominant in the early succession, while Hypocrea and Engyodontium were better adapted in the late succession. The succession of fungal communities might be related to changes of residue quality during decomposition. Collectively, sequences assigned to Ascomycota members were dominant at different stages of the fungal succession during decomposition, revealing that they were key drivers responsible for residue degradation in the arable soil tested.
Studies using molecular techniques have demonstrated that a culture-based approach can severely underestimate the bacterial diversity in most environments. One of the molecular techniques that has been applied in microbial ecology is denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). The purpose of this study was to investigate differences in the microbiota of plaque, using a number of analysis techniques, from children without gingivitis (n = 30) and from those with gingivitis (n = 30). Extracted DNA from gingival margin plaque was subjected to PCR targeting the 16S rRNA gene using universal primers. DGGE profiles were analyzed in three ways. (i) Bacterial diversity was compared between cohorts by using the Shannon-Wiener index (also known as the Shannon-Weaver index). (ii) A hierarchical cluster analysis of the banding patterns was calculated and expressed as a dendrogram. (iii) Individual DGGE bands and their intensities for both cohorts were compared using a logistic regression analysis. The Shannon-Wiener indices demonstrated a greater bacterial diversity associated with no-gingivitis plaque (P = 0.009). Dendrograms demonstrated that seven clades associated with gingivitis and five clades associated with no gingivitis. The logistic regression demonstrated that one band was significantly associated with no gingivitis (P = 0.001), while two bands were significantly associated with gingivitis (P = 0.005 and P = 0.042). In conclusion, this study demonstrates that the development of gingivitis might be accompanied by a decrease in bacterial diversity. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that logistic regression is a good statistical method for analyzing and characterizing DGGE profiles.
The effect of three phenyl urea herbicides (diuron, linuron, and chlorotoluron) on soil microbial communities was studied by using soil samples with a 10-year history of treatment. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) was used for the analysis of 16S rRNA genes (16S rDNA). The degree of similarity between the 16S rDNA profiles of the communities was quantified by numerically analysing the DGGE band patterns. Similarity dendrograms showed that the microbial community structures of the herbicide-treated and nontreated soils were significantly different. Moreover, the bacterial diversity seemed to decrease in soils treated with urea herbicides, and sequence determination of several DGGE fragments showed that the most affected species in the soils treated with diuron and linuron belonged to an uncultivated bacterial group. As well as the 16S rDNA fingerprints, the substrate utilization patterns of the microbial communities were compared. Principal-component analysis performed on BIOLOG data showed that the functional abilities of the soil microbial communities were altered by the application of the herbicides. In addition, enrichment cultures of the different soils in medium with the urea herbicides as the sole carbon and nitrogen source showed that there was no difference between treated and nontreated soil in the rate of transformation of diuron and chlorotoluron but that there was a strong difference in the case of linuron. In the enrichment cultures with linuron-treated soil, linuron disappeared completely after 1 week whereas no significant transformation was observed in cultures inoculated with nontreated soil even after 4 weeks. In conclusion, this study showed that both the structure and metabolic potential of soil microbial communities were clearly affected by a long-term application of urea herbicides.
Seasonal and spatial variation in soil nematode communities was investigated in a field study conducted on a loessial plain in the northern Negev Desert, Israel. Soil samples from 0- to 50-cm depths were collected seasonally during 2001 under the canopy of Atriplex halimus and Hammada scoparia, and between shrubs (control). Total population abundance ranged from 8 to 887 individuals per 100 g soil, represented by 32 genera from 16 families. Significant temporal and vegetation effects were elucidated using most ecological indices applicable to express nematode community composition. Of those indices computed, only the Shannon index, the modified maturity index, and genus dominance distinguished differences in vertical distribution.
desert; distribution; ecology; halophyte; nematode
Nitrogen (N) enrichment resulting from anthropogenic activities has greatly changed the composition and functioning of soil communities. Nematodes are one of the most abundant and diverse groups of soil organisms, and they occupy key trophic positions in the soil detritus food web. Nematodes have therefore been proposed as useful indicators for shifts in soil ecosystem functioning under N enrichment. Here, we monitored temporal dynamics of the soil nematode community using a multi-level N addition experiment in an Inner Mongolia grassland. Measurements were made three years after the start of the experiment. We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to explore the mechanisms regulating nematode responses to N enrichment. Across the N enrichment gradient, significant reductions in total nematode abundance, diversity (H' and taxonomic richness), maturity index (MI), and the abundance of root herbivores, fungivores and omnivores-predators were found in August. Root herbivores recovered in September, contributing to the temporal variation of total nematode abundance across the N gradient. Bacterivores showed a hump-shaped relationship with N addition rate, both in August and September. Ammonium concentration was negatively correlated with the abundance of total and herbivorous nematodes in August, but not in September. Ammonium suppression explained 61% of the variation in nematode richness and 43% of the variation in nematode trophic group composition. Ammonium toxicity may occur when herbivorous nematodes feed on root fluid, providing a possible explanation for the negative relationship between herbivorous nematodes and ammonium concentration in August. We found a significantly positive relationship between fungivores and fungal phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA), suggesting bottom-up control of fungivores. No such relationship was found between bacterivorous nematodes and bacterial PLFA. Our findings contribute to the understanding of effects of N enrichment in semiarid grassland on soil nematode trophic groups, and the cascading effects in the detrital soil food web.
A survey conducted from May 1995 through August 1998 revealed diverse nematode communities in Louisiana sugarcane fields. High populations of Mesocriconema, Paratrichodorus, Pratylenchus, and Tylenchorhynchus were widespread in nine sugarcane production parishes. Comparisons of plant cane and ratoon sugarcane crops indicated that nematode community levels increase significantly in successive ratoon crops. Nematicide trials evaluated the efficacy of aldicarb, ethoprop, and phorate against indigenous nematode populations. Aldicarb consistently increased the number of millable stalks, cane tonnage, and yield of sucrose in soils with a high sand content. Yield increases were concomitant with reductions in the density of the nematode community shortly after planting and at harvest. In soils with a higher clay content, the chemicals were less effective in controlling nematode populations and, as a result, yield increases were minimal.
aldicarb; chemical control; distribution; ethoprop; frequency; Helicotylenchus spp.; lesion nematode; Mesocriconema spp.; nematode; nematode management; Paratrichodorus spp.; Pratylenchus spp.; ring nematode; Saccharum officinarum; spiral nematode; stubby-root nematode; stunt nematode; sugarcane; Tylenchorhynchus spp.
Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of amplified fragments of genes coding for 16S rRNA was used to study the development of bacterial communities during decomposition of crop residues in agricultural soils. Ten strains were tested, and eight of these strains produced a single band. Furthermore, a mixture of strains yielded distinguishable bands. Thus, DGGE DNA band patterns were used to estimate bacterial diversity. A field experiment performed with litter in nylon bags was used to evaluate the bacterial diversity during the decomposition of readily degradable rye and more refractory wheat material in comparable luvisols and cambisols in northern, central, and southern Germany. The amount of bacterial DNA in the fresh litter was small. The DNA content increased rapidly after the litter was added to the soil, particularly in the rapidly decomposing rye material. Concurrently, diversity indices, such as the Shannon-Weaver index, evenness, and equitability, which were calculated from the number and relative abundance (intensity) of the bacterial DNA bands amplified from genes coding for 16S rRNA, increased during the course of decomposition. This general trend was not significant for evenness and equitability at any time. The indices were higher for the more degradation-resistant wheat straw than for the more easily decomposed rye grass. Thus, the DNA band patterns indicated that there was increasing bacterial diversity as decomposition proceeded and substrate quality decreased. The bacterial diversity differed for the sites in northern, central, and southern Germany, where the same litter material was buried in the soil. This shows that in addition to litter type climate, vegetation, and indigenous microbes in the surrounding soil affected the development of the bacterial communities in the litter.
Rotylenchulus reniformis is rapidly becoming the most economically important pest associated with cotton in the southeastern United States. Incentive programs have been implemented to support sampling of production fields to determine the presence and abundance of R. reniformis. These sampling programs have dramatically increased the number of soils samples submitted to nematology laboratories during autumn. The large numbers of samples overwhelm most labs and require placement in cold storage until extraction. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine the length of time soils infested with R. reniformis can be stored before nematode extraction without compromising the accuracy of estimates of population densities. A sandy loam and a silty loam were the two cotton production soils used in this study. Rotylenchulus reniformis numbers decreased 61%during the first 180 days of storage in both soils. Rotylenchulus reniformis numbers from the initial sampling through 180 days decreased as a linear function. The decline of R. reniformis numbers during storage was estimated as 0.28% of the population lost daily from the maximum population through 180 days. The diminution of nematode numbers from 180 through 1,080 days in storage continued, but at a slower rate. Numbers of R. reniformis declined to less than 89%, 93%, and 99% of the initial population within 360, 720, and 1,080 days, respectively, of storage. The reduction of R. reniformis numbers over 180 days can be adjusted, allowing a more accurate estimation of R. reniformis levels in soil samples stored at 4 °C.
Rotylenchulus reniformis; soil storage; population density
Bacterial diversity in unimproved and improved grassland soils was assessed by PCR amplification of bacterial 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) from directly extracted soil DNA, followed by sequencing of ∼45 16S rDNA clones from each of three unimproved and three improved grassland samples (A. E. McCaig, L. A. Glover, and J. I. Prosser, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 65:1721–1730, 1999) or by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of total amplification products. Semi-improved grassland soils were analyzed only by DGGE. No differences between communities were detected by calculation of diversity indices and similarity coefficients for clone data (possibly due to poor coverage). Differences were not observed between the diversities of individual unimproved and improved grassland DGGE profiles, although considerable spatial variation was observed among triplicate samples. Semi-improved grassland samples, however, were less diverse than the other grassland samples and had much lower within-group variation. DGGE banding profiles obtained from triplicate samples pooled prior to analysis indicated that there was less evenness in improved soils, suggesting that selection for specific bacterial groups occurred. Analysis of DGGE profiles by canonical variate analysis but not by principal-coordinate analysis, using unweighted data (considering only the presence and absence of bands) and weighted data (considering the relative intensity of each band), demonstrated that there were clear differences between grasslands, and the results were not affected by weighting of data. This study demonstrated that quantitative analysis of data obtained by community profiling methods, such as DGGE, can reveal differences between complex microbial communities.
Greenhouse experiments with two susceptible hosts of Meloidogyne incognita, a dwarf tomato and wheat, led to the identification of a soil in which the root-knot nematode population was reduced 5- to 16-fold compared to identical but pasteurized soil two months after infestation with 280 M. incognita J2/100 cm3 soil. This suppressive soil was subjected to various temperature, fumigation and dilution treatments, planted with tomato, and infested with 1,000 eggs of M. incognita/100 cm3 soil. Eight weeks after nematode infestation, distinct differences in nematode population densities were observed among the soil treatments, suggesting the suppressiveness had a biological nature. A fungal rRNA gene analysis (OFRG) performed on M. incognita egg masses collected at the end of the greenhouse experiments identified 11 fungal phylotypes, several of which exhibited associations with one or more of the nematode population density measurements (egg masses, eggs or J2). The phylotype containing rRNA genes with high sequence identity to Pochonia chlamydosporia exhibited the strongest negative associations. The negative correlation between the densities of the P. chlamydosporia genes and the nematodes was corroborated by an analysis using a P. chlamydosporia-selective qPCR assay.
biological control; dwarf tomato; Meloidogyne incognita; Pochonia chlamydosporia; root-knot nematode; Solanum lycopersicon; suppressive soil; Triticum aestivum; wheat
Three upland soils from Thailand, a natural forest, a 16-year-old reforested site, and an agricultural field, were studied with regard to methane uptake and the community composition of methanotrophic bacteria (MB). The methane uptake rates were similar to rates described previously for forest and farmland soils of the temperate zone. The rates were lower at the agricultural site than at the native forest and reforested sites. The sites also differed in the MB community composition, which was characterized by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of pmoA gene fragments (coding for a subunit of particulate methane monooxygenase) that were PCR amplified from total soil DNA extracts. Cluster analysis based on the DGGE banding patterns indicated that the MB communities at the forested and reforested sites were similar to each other but different from that at the farmland site. Sequence analysis of excised DGGE bands indicated that Methylobacter spp. and Methylocystis spp. were present. Sequences of the “forest soil cluster” or “upland soil cluster α,” which is postulated to represent organisms involved in atmospheric methane consumption in diverse soils, were detected only in samples from the native forest and reforested sites. Additional sequences that may represent uncultivated groups of MB in the Gammaproteobacteria were also detected.
The total bacterial community of an experimental slow sand filter (SSF) was analyzed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of partial 16S rRNA gene PCR products. One dominant band had sequence homology to Legionella species, indicating that these bacteria were a large component of the SSF bacterial community. Populations within experimental and commercial SSF units were studied by using Legionella-specific PCR primers, and products were studied by DGGE and quantitative PCR analyses. In the experimental SSF unit, the DGGE profiles for sand column, reservoir, storage tank, and headwater tank samples each contained at least one intense band, indicating that a single Legionella strain was predominant in each sample. Greater numbers of DGGE bands of equal intensity were detected in the outflow water sample. Sequence analysis of these PCR products showed that several Legionella species were present and that the organisms exhibited similarity to strains isolated from environmental and clinical samples. Quantitative PCR analysis of the SSF samples showed that from the headwater sample through the sand column, the number of Legionella cells decreased, resulting in a lower number of cells in the outflow water. In the commercial SSF, legionellae were also detected in the sand column samples. Storing prefilter water or locating SSF units within greenhouses, which are often maintained at temperatures that are higher than the ambient temperature, increases the risk of growth of Legionella and should be avoided. Care should also be taken when used filter sand is handled or replaced, and regular monitoring of outflow water would be useful, especially if the water is used for misting or overhead irrigation.
Storage conditions are considered to be a critical component of DNA-based microbial community analysis methods. However, whether differences in short-term sample storage conditions impact the assessment of bacterial community composition and diversity demands systematic and quantitative assessment. Therefore, we used barcoded pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes to survey communities, harvested from a variety of habitats (soil, human gut (feces) and human skin) and subsequently stored at 20°, 4°, −20°, and −80°C for 3 and 14 days. Our results indicate that the phylogenetic structure and diversity of communities in individual samples was not significantly influenced by storage temperature or duration of storage. Likewise, the relative abundances of most taxa were largely unaffected by temperature even after 14 days of storage. Our results indicate that environmental factors and biases in molecular techniques likely impart greater amounts of variation to microbial communities than do differences in short-term storage conditions, including storage for up to two weeks at room temperature. These results suggest that many samples collected and stored under field conditions without refrigeration may be useful for microbial community analyses.
microbial community storage conditions; environmental and human metagenomic studies; barcoded bacterial 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing; phylogenetic- and taxonomic-based community analyses; soil; human fecal and human skin microbiota
Gut microbiota has diverse ecological and evolutionary effects on its hosts. However, the ways in which it responds to environmental heterogeneity and host physiology remain poorly understood. To this end, we surveyed intestinal microbiota of Holotrichia parallela larvae at different instars and from different geographic regions. Bacterial 16S rRNA gene clone libraries were constructed and clones were subsequently screened by DGGE and sequenced. Firmicutes and Proteobacteria were the major phyla, and bacteria belonging to Ruminococcaceae, Lachnospiraceae, Enterobacteriaceae, Desulfovibrionaceae and Rhodocyclaceae families were commonly found in all natural populations. However, bacterial diversity (Chao1 and Shannon indices) and community structure varied across host populations, and the observed variation can be explained by soil pH, organic carbon and total nitrogen, and the climate factors (e.g., mean annual temperature) of the locations where the populations were sampled. Furthermore, increases in the species richness and diversity of gut microbiota were observed during larval growth. Bacteroidetes comprised the dominant group in the first instar; however, Firmicutes composed the majority of the hindgut microbiota during the second and third instars. Our results suggest that the gut's bacterial community changes in response to environmental heterogeneity and host's physiology, possibly to meet the host's ecological needs or physiological demands.
Changes in plant diversity may induce distinct changes in soil food web structure and accompanying soil feedbacks to plants. However, knowledge of the long-term consequences of plant community simplification for soil animal food webs and functioning is scarce. Nematodes, the most abundant and diverse soil Metazoa, represent the complexity of soil food webs as they comprise all major trophic groups and allow calculation of a number of functional indices.
We studied the functional composition of nematode communities three and five years after establishment of a grassland plant diversity experiment (Jena Experiment). In response to plant community simplification common nematode species disappeared and pronounced functional shifts in community structure occurred. The relevance of the fungal energy channel was higher in spring 2007 than in autumn 2005, particularly in species-rich plant assemblages. This resulted in a significant positive relationship between plant species richness and the ratio of fungal-to-bacterial feeders. Moreover, the density of predators increased significantly with plant diversity after five years, pointing to increased soil food web complexity in species-rich plant assemblages. Remarkably, in complex plant communities the nematode community shifted in favour of microbivores and predators, thereby reducing the relative abundance of plant feeders after five years.
The results suggest that species-poor plant assemblages may suffer from nematode communities detrimental to plants, whereas species-rich plant assemblages support a higher proportion of microbivorous nematodes stimulating nutrient cycling and hence plant performance; i.e. effects of nematodes on plants may switch from negative to positive. Overall, food web complexity is likely to decrease in response to plant community simplification and results of this study suggest that this results mainly from the loss of common species which likely alter plant – nematode interactions.
From infestation of lettuce with preinfective females to egg deposition, populations of Rotylenchulus reniformis from Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Lubbock and Weslaco, Texas; and Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, required 41, 13, 7, and 7 days at 15, 20, 25, and 34 C, respectively. No nematode infection occurred at 10 C with any R. reniformis population, and the population from Puerto Rico did not reproduce at 15 C. Nematode survival was not influenced by temperature, since populations from Texas and Louisiana survived for 6 months without a host at - 5 , - 1 , 4, and 25 C. Survival of R. reniformis was substantially influenced by soil moisture. Soil moistures greater than 7% (< 1 bar) aided nematode survival at storage temperature of 25 C, whereas moisture adversely affected nematode survival below freezing. Soil moisture below 4% (> 15 bars) favored nematode survival below freezing but adversely affected nematodes in soils stored at 25 C. Soil moisture effects on nematode survival were less accentuated at 4 and 0 C.
Cucumis melo; Lactuca sativa; postinfection development; reniform nematode; Rotylenchulus reniformis; soil moisture content
In this study, a polyphasic approach was used to study the ecology of fresh sausages and to characterize populations of lactic acid bacteria (LAB). The microbial profile of fresh sausages was monitored from the production day to the 10th day of storage at 4°C. Samples were collected on days 0, 3, 6, and 10, and culture-dependent and -independent methods of detection and identification were applied. Traditional plating and isolation of LAB strains, which were subsequently identified by molecular methods, and the application of PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) to DNA and RNA extracted directly from the fresh sausage samples allowed the study in detail of the changes in the bacterial and yeast populations during storage. Brochothrix thermosphacta and Lactobacillus sakei were the main populations present. In particular, B. thermosphacta was present throughout the process, as determined by both DNA and RNA analysis. Other bacterial species, mainly Staphylococcus xylosus, Leuconostoc mesenteroides, and L. curvatus, were detected by DGGE. Moreover, an uncultured bacterium and an uncultured Staphylococcus sp. were present, too. LAB strains isolated at day 0 were identified as Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis, L. casei, and Enterococcus casseliflavus, and on day 3 a strain of Leuconostoc mesenteroides was identified. The remaining strains isolated belonged to L. sakei. Concerning the yeast ecology, only Debaryomyces hansenii was established in the fresh sausages. Capronia mansonii was initially present, but it was not detected after the first 3 days. At last, L. sakei isolates were characterized by randomly amplified polymorphic DNA PCR and repetitive DNA element PCR. The results obtained underlined how different populations took over at different steps of the process. This is believed to be the result of the selection of the particular population, possibly due to the low storage temperature employed.