2020 Volume 35 Issue 1
Chitin amendment is an agricultural management strategy for controlling soil-borne plant disease. We previously reported an exponential decrease in chitin added to incubated upland soil. We herein investigated the transition of the bacterial community structure in chitin-degrading soil samples over time and the characteristics of chitinolytic bacteria in order to elucidate changes in the chitinolytic bacterial community structure during chitin degradation. The addition of chitin to soil immediately increased the population of bacteria in the genus Streptomyces, which is the main decomposer of chitin in soil environments. Lysobacter, Pseudoxanthomonas, Cellulosimicrobium, Streptosporangium, and Nonomuraea populations increased over time with decreases in that of Streptomyces. We isolated 104 strains of chitinolytic bacteria, among which six strains were classified as Lysobacter, from chitin-treated soils. These results suggested the involvement of Lysobacter as well as Streptomyces as chitin decomposers in the degradation of chitin added to soil. Lysobacter isolates required yeast extract or casamino acid for significant growth on minimal agar medium supplemented with glucose. Further nutritional analyses demonstrated that the six chitinolytic Lysobacter isolates required methionine (Met) to grow, but not cysteine or homocysteine, indicating Met auxotrophy. Met auxotrophy was also observed in two of the five type strains of Lysobacter spp. tested, and these Met auxotrophs used d-Met as well as l-Met. The addition of Met to incubated upland soil increased the population of Lysobacter. Met may be a factor increasing the population of Lysobacter in chitin-treated upland soil.