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Variations of Abundance and Community Structure of Ammonia Oxidizers and Nitrification Activity in Two Paddy Soils Polluted by Heavy Metals

Liu, Yuan, Xue, Chen, Yu, Shirui, Li, Feng
Geomicrobiology journal 2019 v.36 no.1 pp. 1-10
Archaea, Nitrosospira, ammonia, bacteria, heavy metals, microbial communities, microbial nitrogen, mining, nitrification, paddies, paddy soils, pollutants, polluted soils, pollution, rice soils, toxicity, trace elements
While microbial nitrogen transformations are sensitive indicators of trace metal toxicity in soils, studies that quantify the impacts of heavy metal pollution in polluted rice soils on microbial communities and their activities remain limited. We examined changes in the abundance, composition and activity of ammonia oxidizing communities in two paddy fields that have been polluted by metal mining and smelting activities for more than three decades. The results showed a shift in the community structure of ammonia oxidizing archaea (AOA) and, to a lesser extent, of ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB) under metal pollution in the soils. All the retrieved AOB sequences in this study belonged to the genus Nitrosospira. Among them, the species in Cluster 3 a.1 seemed to be more sensitive to heavy metal pollution. Both AOB abundance and nitrification activity were not affected by heavy metal pollution in the two sites; whereas, AOA abundance increased. Our results suggested an effect of metal pollutants on communities of ammonia oxidizers, the degree of which varied in accordance with the amount of metal pollution. Therefore, it is difficult to quantify the relationship between the AOB/AOA communities and nitrification activity in the polluted soil.