Contrasting response of comammox Nitrospira, ammonia oxidising bacteria, and archaea to soil pH and nitrogen inputs

Journal Article
This study aimed to investigate the effect of soil pH change, and nitrogen amendment on ammonia oxidiser abundance and comammox Nitrospira community composition. The experimental design used soil mesocosms placed in a temperature-controlled incubator for 90 days. A Templeton silt loam was used as its physiochemical properties are typical of the region's dairy farms. The results showed that comammox Nitrospira clade B preferred the natural (pH 6.1–6.2) soil pH with no applied nitrogen. Furthermore, synthetic urine (N700) decreased the abundance of comammox Nitrospira clade B. This may have been because the large amounts of available ammonia in the N700 treatments inhibited the growth of comammox Nitrospira. These results suggest that while comammox Nitrospira clade B are present in New Zealand dairy farm soils, but their role in nitrification in the very high nitrogen environment under a urine patch in grazed pastures may be limited. Further research is needed to confirm this. In contrast to comammox, the AOB community (dominated by Nitrosospira) responded positively to the application of synthetic urine. The response was greatest in the high pH soil (7.1), followed by the natural and then the low pH (4.9) soils. This may be due to the difference in ammonia availability. At high pH, the ammonia/ammonium equilibrium favours ammonia production. Calculated ammonia availability in the N700 treatments accurately predicted the AOB amoA gene abundance. Interestingly, the AOA community abundance (which was predominantly made up of Thaumarchaeota group I.1b clade E) seemed to prefer the natural and high pH soils over the low pH. This may be due to the specific lineage of AOA present. AOA did not respond to the application of nitrogen.
© 2024 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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