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Abundance of transcripts of functional gene reflects the inverse relationship between CH4 and N2O emissions during mid-season drainage in acidic paddy soil

Qin, Hongling, Tang, Yafang, Shen, Jianlin, Wang, Cong, Chen, Chunlan, Yang, Jie, Liu, Yi, Chen, Xiangbi, Li, Yong, Hou, Haijun
Biology and fertility of soils 2018 v.54 no.8 pp. 885-895
DNA, agricultural management, ammonium, bacteria, denitrifying microorganisms, drainage, edaphic factors, field experimentation, gene expression, genes, greenhouse gas emissions, messenger RNA, methane, methanogens, nitrous oxide, organic carbon, paddies, paddy soils, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, redox potential, soil properties, straw
Agricultural management significantly affects methane (CH₄) and nitrous oxide (N₂O) emissions from paddy fields. However, little is known about the underlying microbiological mechanism. Field experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of the water regime and straw incorporation on CH₄ and N₂O emissions and soil properties. Quantitative PCR was applied to measure the abundance of soil methanogens, methane-oxidising bacteria, nitrifiers, and denitrifiers according to DNA and mRNA expression levels of microbial genes, including mcrA, pmoA, amoA, and nirK/nirS/nosZ. Field trials showed that the CH₄ and N₂O flux rates were negatively correlated with each other, and N₂O emissions were far lower than CH₄ emissions. Drainage and straw incorporation affected functional gene abundance through altered soil environment. The present (DNA-level) gene abundances of amoA, nosZ, and mcrA were higher with straw incorporation than those without straw incorporation, and they were positively correlated with high concentrations of soil exchangeable NH₄⁺ and dissolved organic carbon. The active (mRNA-level) gene abundance of mcrA was lower in the drainage treatment than in continuous flooding, which was negatively correlated with soil redox potential (Eh). The CH₄ flux rate was significantly and positively correlated with active mcrA abundance but negatively correlated with Eh. The N₂O flux rate was significantly and positively correlated with present and active nirS abundance and positively correlated with soil Eh. Thus, we demonstrated that active gene abundance, such as of mcrA for CH₄ and nirS for N₂O, reflects the contradictory relationship between CH₄ and N₂O emissions regulated by soil Eh in acidic paddy soils.