PLoS ONE, 2014, Vol.9(9)
The fate of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soil is determined by a suite of biotic and abiotic factors, and disentangling their role in the complex soil interaction network remains challenging. Here, we investigate the influence of soil composition on the microbial community structure and its response to the spiked model PAH compound phenanthrene and plant litter. We used long-term matured artificial soils differing in type of clay mineral (illite, montmorillonite) and presence of charcoal or ferrihydrite. The soils received an identical soil microbial fraction and were incubated for more than two years with two sterile manure additions. The matured artificial soils and a natural soil were subjected to the following spiking treatments: (I) phenanthrene, (II) litter, (III) litter + phenanthrene, (IV) unspiked control. Total community DNA was extracted from soil sampled on the day of spiking, 7, 21, and 63 days after spiking. Bacterial 16S rRNA gene and fungal internal transcribed spacer amplicons were quantified by qPCR and subjected to denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). DGGE analysis revealed that the bacterial community composition, which was strongly shaped by clay minerals after more than two years of incubation, changed in response to spiked phenanthrene and added litter. DGGE and qPCR showed that soil composition significantly influenced the microbial response to spiking. While fungal communities responded only in presence of litter to phenanthrene spiking, the response of the bacterial communities to phenanthrene was less pronounced when litter was present. Interestingly, microbial communities in all artificial soils were more strongly affected by spiking than in the natural soil, which might indicate the importance of higher microbial diversity to compensate perturbations. This study showed the influence of soil composition on the microbiota and their response to phenanthrene and litter, which may increase our understanding of complex interactions in soils for bioremediation applications.
Research Article ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Ecology And Environmental Sciences