Articles | Volume 10, issue 8
Research article
30 Aug 2013
Research article |  | 30 Aug 2013

Conversion of upland to paddy field specifically alters the community structure of archaeal ammonia oxidizers in an acid soil

M. S. Alam, G. D. Ren, L. Lu, Y. Zheng, X. H. Peng, and Z. J. Jia

Abstract. The function of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and bacteria (AOB) depends on the major energy-generating compounds (i.e., ammonia and oxygen). The diversification of AOA and AOB communities along ecological gradients of substrate availability in a complex environment have been much debated but rarely tested. In this study, two ecosystems of maize and rice crops under different fertilization regimes were selected to investigate the community diversification of soil AOA and AOB upon conversion of an upland field to a paddy field and long-term field fertilization in an acid soil. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction of ammonia monooxygenase (amoA) genes demonstrated that the abundance of AOA was significantly stimulated after conversion of upland to paddy soils for more than 100 yr, whereas a slight decline in AOB numbers was observed. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis fingerprints of amoA genes further revealed remarkable changes in the community compositions of AOA after conversion of aerobic upland to flooded paddy field. Sequencing analysis revealed that upland soil was dominated by AOA within the soil group 1.1b lineage, whereas the marine group 1.1a-associated lineage predominated in AOA communities in paddy soils. Irrespective of whether the soil was upland or paddy soil, long-term field fertilization led to increased abundance of amoA genes in AOA and AOB compared with control treatments (no fertilization), whereas archaeal amoA gene abundances outnumbered their bacterial counterparts in all samples. Phylogenetic analyses of amoA genes showed that Nitrosospira cluster-3-like AOB dominated bacterial ammonia oxidizers in both paddy and upland soils, regardless of fertilization treatment. The results of this study suggest that the marine group 1.1a-associated AOA will be better adapted to the flooded paddy field than AOA ecotypes of the soil group 1.1b lineage, and indicate that long-term flooding is the dominant selective force driving the community diversification of AOA populations in the acid soil tested.

Final-revised paper