• The influence of aggregate size fraction and horizon position on microbial community composition

      Fox, Aaron; Ikoyi, Israel; Torres-Sallan, Gemma; Lanigan, Gary; Schmalenberger, Achim; Wakelin, Steve; Creamer, Rachel; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Environmental Protection Agency; Agricultural GHG Research Initiative for Ireland; et al. (Elsevier, 2018-03-09)
      The influence of horizon position and aggregate size on bacterial and fungal community composition was determined. From nine sites, soils were collected from the top three horizon positions (H1, H2 and H3). Physical fractionation separated samples into large macroaggregate (LM, >2000 μm), macroaggregate (MAC, >250 μm), microaggregate (MIC, <250 μm), and silt and clay (SC, 53 μm) fractions. In all samples, the structure of the bacterial and fungal community composition was assessed via restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP), and for the four aggregate sizes from the top two horizons positions an in-depth analysis of the bacterial community was conducted using next generation sequencing (NGS). Bacterial and fungal communities both differed between aggregate-sizes. Changes in the composition of the bacterial and fungal communities also occurred among horizon positions, with a significant interaction between aggregate size and horizon position evident for the bacterial community. Using NGS, it was shown that aggregate-size had a significant effect on the bacterial community in both horizon positions at both the phyla and family taxonomic levels. MAC and MIC significantly differed in the % relative abundance of bacterial groups, potentially indicating differing predation pressures. These results indicate that both horizon position and aggregate size support distinct microbial communities. Understanding these parameters is critical in our comprehension of the patterns of microbial diversity in soil.
    • Soil bacterial community structure and functional responses across a long-term mineral phosphorus (Pi) fertilisation gradient differ in grazed and cut grasslands

      Randall, Kate; Brennan, Fiona P.; Clipson, Nicholas; Creamer, Rachel; Griffiths, Bryan; Storey, Sean; Doyle, Evelyn; Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions; European Regional Development Fund (Elsevier, 2019-03-06)
      Grasslands form a significant proportion of land used across the globe and future management is important. The objective of this study was to compare the long-term impact of inorganic phosphorus (Pi) fertilisation rates (P0, P15 and P30 ha−1 yr−1) under two grass management trials (grazed vs. cut and removed) on soil physicochemical properties, microbial biomass, phosphomonoesterase activity, bacterial community structure and abundance of a phosphorus (P) mineralising gene (phoD). Under grazing, microbial biomass and soil phosphorus concentrations (total and Pi) generally increased with Pi fertilisation rate, accompanied by significant differences in bacterial community structure between unfertilised (P0) and P30 soil. At the cut and removed site, although Pi was significantly greater in P30 soil, P concentrations (total and Pi) did not increase to the same extent as for grazing, with microbial biomass and bacterial community structures unresponsive to Pi fertilisation. Despite differences in soil P concentrations (total and Pi) and microbial biomass between sites, the abundance of bacterial phoD increased with increasing soil Pi across both sites, while phosphomonoesterase activity decreased. Amplicon sequencing revealed Acidobacteria were the dominant bacterial phylum across both grasslands, but significant differences in relative abundances of bacterial genera were detected at the grazed site only. The bacterial genera Gp6 and Gp16 increased significantly with Pi fertilisation under grazing. Conversely, Bradyrhizobium as well as unclassified genus-type groups belonging to Actinobacteria and Acidimicrobiales significantly decreased with Pi fertilisation, suggesting potential roles in P mobilisation when soil Pi concentrations are low. This study highlights the importance of long-term Pi fertilisation rates and aboveground vegetation removal in shaping soil bacterial community structure and microbial biomass, which in turn may impact soil fertility and plant productivity within agricultural soils.