Microbial Ecology

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 178–190 | Cite as

Intensive Management Affects Composition of Betaproteobacterial Ammonia Oxidizers in Turfgrass Systems

  • Emily A. Dell
  • Daniel Bowman
  • Thomas Rufty
  • Wei ShiEmail author
Original Article


Turfgrass is a highly managed ecosystem subject to frequent fertilization, mowing, irrigation, and application of pesticides. Turf management practices may create a perturbed environment for ammonia oxidizers, a key microbial group responsible for nitrification. To elucidate the long-term effects of turf management on these bacteria, we assessed the composition of betaproteobacterial ammonia oxidizers in a chronosequence of turfgrass systems (i.e., 1, 6, 23, and 95 years old) and the adjacent native pines by using both 16S rRNA and amoA gene fragments specific to ammonia oxidizers. Based on the Shannon–Wiener diversity index of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis patterns and the rarefaction curves of amoA clones, turf management did not change the relative diversity and richness of ammonia oxidizers in turf soils as compared to native pine soils. Ammonia oxidizers in turfgrass systems comprised a suite of phylogenetic clusters common to other terrestrial ecosystems. Nitrosospira clusters 0, 2, 3, and 4; Nitrosospira sp. Nsp65-like sequences; and Nitrosomonas clusters 6 and 7 were detected in the turfgrass chronosequence with Nitrosospira clusters 3 and 4 being dominant. However, both turf age and land change (pine to turf) effected minor changes in ammonia oxidizer composition. Nitrosospira cluster 0 was observed only in older turfgrass systems (i.e., 23 and 95 years old); fine-scale differences within Nitrosospira cluster 3 were seen between native pines and turf. Further investigations are needed to elucidate the ecological implications of the compositional differences.


Ammonia Oxidizer Ammonia Oxidize Bacterium amoA Gene Dice Similarity Coefficient Wiener Diversity Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported financially by the Center for Turfgrass Research and Education at North Carolina State University. We thank Drs. Rongda Qu and Sivamani Elumalai for their suggestions and comments on DNA hybridization and thank the Pinehurst Resort and Country Club and Forest Creek Golf Club for allowing us to take soil samples from their golf courses. Two anonymous reviewers provided constructive comments to improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily A. Dell
    • 1
  • Daniel Bowman
    • 2
  • Thomas Rufty
    • 2
  • Wei Shi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Soil ScienceNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Department of Crop ScienceNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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