Plant and Soil

, Volume 238, Issue 2, pp 301–312

Microbial community composition and functional diversity in the rhizosphere of maize

  • Ellen Kandeler
  • Petra Marschner
  • Dagmar Tscherko
  • Tara Singh Gahoonia
  • Niels Erik Nielsen
Article

DOI: 10.1023/A:1014479220689

Cite this article as:
Kandeler, E., Marschner, P., Tscherko, D. et al. Plant and Soil (2002) 238: 301. doi:10.1023/A:1014479220689

Abstract

This study investigates the small-scale stratification of bacterial community composition and functional diversity in the rhizosphere of maize. Maize seedlings were grown in a microcosm with a horizontal mesh (53 μM) creating a planar root mat and rhizosphere soil. An unplanted microcosm served as control. Thin slices of soil were cut at different distances from the mesh surface (0.2–5.0 mm) and analysed for bacterial community composition by PCR-DGGE (polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis) of 16S rDNA and tested for activities of different enzymes involved in C, N, P and S cycling. Bacterial community composition and microbial functional diversity were affected by the presence of the maize roots. The bacterial composition showed a clear gradient up to 2.2 mm from the root surface, while no such gradient was observed in the unplanted pot. Invertase and phosphatase activities were higher in the close vicinity of maize roots (0.2–0.8 mm), whereas xylanase activity was unaffected. This study shows that the changes in bacterial community composition and functional diversity induced by roots may extend several millimetres into the soil.

Bacterial community compositionDGGEfunctional diversityrhizospheresoil enzymes

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen Kandeler
    • 1
  • Petra Marschner
    • 2
  • Dagmar Tscherko
    • 1
  • Tara Singh Gahoonia
    • 3
  • Niels Erik Nielsen
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Soil ScienceUniversity of HohenheimStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Applied BotanyUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural ScienceThe Royal Veterinary and Agricultural UniversityFrederiksberg CDenmark