FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 2012, Vol. 81(3), pp.673-683
The impact of the soil matric potential on the relationship between the relative abundance of degraders and their activity and on the spatial distribution of both at fine scales was determined to understand the role of environmental conditions in the degradation of organic substrates. The mineralization of 13 C-glucose and 13 C-2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) was measured at different matric potentials (−0.001, −0.01 and −0.316 MPa) in 6 × 6 × 6 mm 3 cubes excised from soil cores. At the end of the incubation, total bacterial and 2,4-D degrader abundances were determined by quantifying the 16S rRNA and the tfdA genes, respectively. The mineralization of 2,4-D was more sensitive to changes in matric potential than was that of glucose. The amount and spatial structure of 2,4-D mineralization decreased with matric potential, whilst the spatial variability increased. On the other hand, the spatial variation of glucose mineralization was less affected by changes in matric potential. The relationship between the relative abundance of 2,4-D degraders and 2,4-D mineralization was significantly affected by matric potential: the relative abundance of tfdA needed to be higher to reach a given level of 2,4-D mineralization in dryer than in moister conditions. The data show how microbial interactions with their microhabitat can have an impact on soil processes at larger scales.
2, 4 - D ; Relative Abundance Of Degraders ; Water Content ; Glucose ; Organic Substrate Mineralization ; Spatial Variability