Volume 26 (2011) Issue 3 Pages 248-253
Soil type is one of the key factors affecting soil microbial communities. With regard to ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), however, it has not been determined how soil type affects their community size and soil nitrification activity. Here we quantitatively analyzed the ammonia monooxygenase genes (amoA) of these ammonia oxidizers in fields with three different soil types (Low-humic Andosol [LHA], Gray Lowland Soil [GLS], and Yellow Soil [YS]) under common cropping conditions, and assessed the relationships between soil nitrification activity and the abundance of each amoA. Nitrification activity of LHA was highest, followed by that of GLS and YS; this order was consistent with that for the abundance of AOB amoA. Abundance of AOB amoA showed temporal variation, which was similar to that observed in nitrification activity, and a strong relationship (adjusted R2=0.742) was observed between the abundance of AOB amoA and nitrification activity. Abundance of AOA amoA also exhibited a significant relationship (adjusted R2=0.228) with nitrification activity, although this relationship was much weaker. Our results indicate that soil type affects the community size of AOA and AOB and the resulting nitrification activity, and that AOB are major contributors to nitrification in soils, while AOA are partially responsible.