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Influence of edaphic, climatic, and agronomic factors on the composition and abundance of nitrifying microorganisms in the rhizosphere of commercial olive crops.

PLoS ONE. 2015;10(5):e0125787 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0125787


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Journal Title: PLoS ONE

ISSN: 1932-6203 (Online)

Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)

LCC Subject Category: Medicine | Science

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

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Joan Caliz

Miguel Montes-Borrego

Xavier Triadó-Margarit

Madis Metsis

Blanca B Landa

Emilio O Casamayor


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Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The microbial ecology of the nitrogen cycle in agricultural soils is an issue of major interest. We hypothesized a major effect by farm management systems (mineral versus organic fertilizers) and a minor influence of soil texture and plant variety on the composition and abundance of microbial nitrifiers. We explored changes in composition (16S rRNA gene) of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA), bacteria (AOB), and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB), and in abundance of AOA and AOB (qPCR of amoA genes) in the rhizosphere of 96 olive orchards differing in climatic conditions, agricultural practices, soil properties, and olive variety. Majority of archaea were 1.1b thaumarchaeota (soil crenarchaeotic group, SCG) closely related to the AOA genus Nitrososphaera. Most AOB (97%) were identical to Nitrosospira tenuis and most NOB (76%) were closely related to Nitrospira sp. Common factors shaping nitrifiers assemblage composition were pH, soil texture, and olive variety. AOB abundance was positively correlated with altitude, pH, and clay content, whereas AOA abundances showed significant relationships with organic nitrogen content and exchangeable K. The abundances of AOA differed significantly among soil textures and olive varieties, and those of AOB among soil management systems and olive varieties. Overall, we observed minor effects by orchard management system, soil cover crop practices, plantation age, or soil organic matter content, and major influence of soil texture, pH, and olive tree variety.