2020 Volume 35 Issue 4
Soils are characterized by diverse biotic and abiotic constituents, and this complexity hinders studies on the effects of individual soil components on microorganisms in soil. Although artificial soils have been used to overcome this issue, anoxic soils have not yet been examined. We herein aimed to create artificial soil that reproduces anaerobic methane production by soil from a rice field. Organic materials and mineral particles separated from rice field soil were mixed to prepare an artificial soil matrix; the matrix was added with a small volume of a soil suspension as a microbial inoculum. When the microbial inoculum was added immediately after matrix preparation, anaerobic decomposition was markedly less than that by original soil. When the inoculum was added 9–15 days after soil matrix preparation, anaerobic CO2 and methane production was markedly activated, similar to that by original soil after 40 days of incubation, which suggested that the maturation of the soil matrix was crucial for the reproduction of anaerobic microbial activities. The diversity of the microbial community that developed in artificial soil was markedly less than that in original soil, whereas their predicted functional profiles were similar. Humic substances altered the composition and network patterns of the microbial community. These results suggested that the functional redundancy of soil microorganisms was sustained by different microbial sub-communities. The present study demonstrated that artificial soil is a useful tool for investigating the effects of soil components on microorganisms in anoxic soil.