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Linking alkaline phosphatase activity with bacterial phoD gene abundance in soil from a long-term management trial

Fraser, T., Lynch, D. H., Entz, M. H. and Dunfield, K. E. (2015) Linking alkaline phosphatase activity with bacterial phoD gene abundance in soil from a long-term management trial. Geoderma, 257-258. pp. 115-122. ISSN 1872-6259

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2014.10.016


Changes in land management practices may have significant implications for soil microbial communities important in organic P turnover. Soil bacteria can increase plant P availability by excreting phosphatase enzymes which catalyze the hydrolysis of ester-phosphate bonds. Examining the diversity and abundance of alkaline phosphatase gene harboring bacteria may provide valuable insight into alkaline phosphatase production in soils. This study examined the effect of 20 years of no input organic (ORG), organic with composted manure (ORG + M), conventional (CONV) and restored prairie (PRA) management on soil P bioavailability, alkaline phosphatase activity (ALP), and abundance and diversity of ALP gene (phoD) harboring bacteria in soils from the northern Great Plains of Canada. Management system influenced bioavailable P (P < 0.001), but not total P, with the lowest concentrations in the ORG systems and the highest in PRA. Higher rates of ALP were observed in the ORG and ORG + M treatments with a significant negative correlation between bioavailable P and ALP in 2011 (r2 = 0.71; P = 0.03) and 2012 (r2 = 0.51; P = 0.02), suggesting that ALP activity increased under P limiting conditions. The phoD gene abundance was also highest in ORG and ORG + M resulting in a significant positive relationship between bacterial phoD abundance and ALP activity (r2 = 0.71; P = 0.009). Analysis of phoD bacterial community fingerprints showed a higher number of species in CONV compared to ORG and ORG + M, contrary to what was expected considering greater ALP activity under ORG management. In 2012, banding profiles of ORG + M showed fewer phoD bacterial species following the second manure application, although ALP activity is higher than in 2011. This indicates that a few species may be producing more ALP and that quantitative gene analysis was a better indicator of activity than the number of species present.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:62704

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