An Integrated Study to Analyze Soil Microbial Community Structure and Metabolic Potential in Two Forest Types


Soil microbial metabolic potential and ecosystem function have received little attention owing to difficulties in methodology. In this study, we selected natural mature forest and natural secondary forest and analyzed the soil microbial community and metabolic potential combing the high-throughput sequencing and GeoChip technologies. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA sequencing showed that one known archaeal phylum and 15 known bacterial phyla as well as unclassified phylotypes were presented in these forest soils, and  Acidobacteria,  Protecobacteria, and  Actinobacteria  were three of most abundant phyla. The detected microbial functional gene groups were related to different biogeochemical processes, including carbon degradation, carbon fixation, methane metabolism, nitrogen cycling, phosphorus utilization, sulfur cycling, etc. The Shannon index for detected functional gene probes was significantly higher (P<0.05) at natural secondary forest site. The regression analysis showed that a strong positive (P<0.05) correlation was existed between the soil microbial functional gene diversity and phylogenetic diversity. Mantel test showed that soil oxidizable organic carbon, soil total nitrogen and cellulose, glucanase, and amylase activities were significantly linked (P<0.05) to the relative abundance of corresponded functional gene groups. Variance partitioning analysis showed that a total of 81.58% of the variation in community structure was explained by soil chemical factors, soil temperature, and plant diversity. Therefore, the positive link of soil microbial structure and composition to functional activity related to ecosystem functioning was existed, and the natural secondary forest soil may occur the high microbial metabolic potential. Although the results can’t directly reflect the actual microbial populations and functional activities, this study provides insight into the potential activity of the microbial community and associated feedback responses of the terrestrial ecosystem to environmental changes.

Zhang, Yuguang et al. “An Integrated Study to Analyze Soil Microbial Community Structure and Metabolic Potential in Two Forest Types.’ Ed. A. Mark Ibekwe.  PLoS ONE  9.4 (2014): e93773.  PMC. Web. 8 Feb. 2018.

I picked this article because I’m interested in ecosystem processes, especially when they are related to the development of forests.

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