Liang, D., Y. Ouyang, L. K. Tiemann, and G. P. Robertson. 2020. Niche differentiation of bacterial versus archaeal soil nitrifiers induced by ammonium inhibition along a management gradient. Frontiers in Microbiology 11:568588.
Soil nitrification, mediated mainly by ammonia oxidizing archaea (AOA) and bacteria (AOB), converts ammonium (NH4+) to nitrite (NO2−) and thence nitrate (NO3−). To better understand ecological differences between AOA and AOB, we investigated the nitrification kinetics of AOA and AOB under eight replicated cropped and unmanaged ecosystems (including two fertilized natural systems) along a long-term management intensity gradient in the upper U.S. Midwest. For five of eight ecosystems, AOB but not AOA exhibited Haldane kinetics (inhibited by high NH4+ additions), especially in perennial and successional systems. In contrast, AOA predominantly exhibited Michaelis-Menten kinetics, suggesting greater resistance to high nitrogen inputs than AOB. These responses suggest the potential for NH4+-induced niche differentiation between AOA and AOB. Additionally, long-term fertilization significantly enhanced maximum nitrification rates (Vmax) in the early successional systems for both AOA and AOB, but not in the deciduous forest systems. This was likely due to pH suppression of nitrification in the acidic forest soils, corroborated by a positive correlation of Vmax with soil pH but not with amoA gene abundance. Results also demonstrated that soil nitrification potentials were relatively stable, as there were no seasonal differences. Overall, results suggest that (1) NH4+ inhibition of AOB but not AOA could be another factor contributing to niche differentiation between AOA and AOB in soil, and (2) nitrification by both AOA and AOB can be significantly promoted by long-term nitrogen inputs.
Data URL: https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.573n5tb5w
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