Environmental biology

Bacterial diversity and distribution in the southeast edge of the Tengger Desert and their correlation with soil enzyme activities

Wei Zhang , Gaosen Zhang , Guangxiu Liu , Zhibao Dong , Tuo Chen , Manxiao Zhang , Paul J. Dyson , Lizhe An


Received January 13, 2012,Revised March 07, 2012, Accepted , Available online November 06, 2012

Volume 24,2012,Pages 2004-2011

The nature of microbial communities and their relation to enzyme activities in desert soils is a neglected area of investigation. To address this, the bacterial diversity and distribution and soil physico-chemical factors were investigated in the soil crust, the soil beneath the crust and rhizosphere soil at the southeast edge of the Tengger Desert, using the denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of 16S rRNA genes amplified by the polymerase chain reaction. Phylogenetic analysis of the sequenced DGGE bands revealed a great diversity of bacteria. The Proteobacteria, consisting of the α, β, and γ subdivisions, were clearly the dominant group at all depths and in rhizosphere soil. Analysis of the enzyme activities indicated that the rhizosphere soil of Caragana korshinskii exhibited the highest protease and polyphenol oxidase activities, and in the soil crust there were increased activities of catalase, urease, dehydrogenase and sucrase. The bacterial community abundance closely correlated with soil enzyme activities in different soils. The presence of Cyanobacteria correlated with significant increases in protease, catalase and sucrase in the soil crust, and increased urease in the rhizosphere soil of Artemisia ordosica. The occurrence of Acidobacteria was associated with significant increases in urease, dehydrogenase, and sucrase in the rhizosphere soil of C. korshinski. The presence of γ-Proteobacteria correlated with a significant increase in polyphenol oxidase in the rhizosphere soil of A. ordosica. The study indicated a close relationship between the soil bacterial community and soil enzymes, suggesting the necessity of further investigations into bacterial function in this desert ecosystem.

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