Microbial Ecology

, Volume 67, Issue 4, pp 931–941 | Cite as

Initial Copper Stress Strengthens the Resistance of Soil Microorganisms to a Subsequent Copper Stress

  • Jing Li
  • Yuan-Ming Zheng
  • Yu-Rong Liu
  • Yi-Bing Ma
  • Hang-Wei Hu
  • Ji Zheng He
Soil Microbiology


To improve the prediction of essential ecosystem functioning under future environmental disturbances, it is of significance to identify responses of soil microorganisms to environmental stresses. In this study, we collected polluted soil samples from field plots with eight copper levels ranging from 0 to 3,200 mg Cu kg−1 soil. Then, the soils with 0 and 3,200 mg Cu kg−1 were selected to construct a microcosm experiment. Four treatments were set up including Cu0-C and Cu3200-C without further Cu addition, and Cu0-A and Cu3200-A with addition of 57.5 mg Cu kg−1 soil. We measured substrate-induced respiration (SIR) and potential nitrification rate (PNR). Furthermore, the abundance of bacterial, archaeal 16S rRNA genes, ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea amoA genes were determined through quantitative PCR. The soil microbial communities were investigated by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP). For the field samples, the SIR and PNR as well as the abundance of soil microorganisms varied significantly between eight copper levels. Soil microbial communities highly differed between the low and high copper stress. In the microcosm experiment, the PNR and SIR both recovered while the abundance of soil microorganisms varied irregularly during the 90-day incubation. The differences of microbial communities measured by pairwise Bray–Curtis dissimilarities between Cu0-A and Cu0-C on day 0 were significantly higher after subsequent stress than before. However, the differences of microbial communities between Cu3200-A and Cu3200-C on day 0 changed little between after subsequent stress and before. Therefore, initial copper stress could increase the resistance of soil microorganisms to subsequent copper stress.


Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism amoA Gene Archaeal Community Copper Stress Curtis Dissimilarity 
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 funded by Natural Sciences Foundation of China (41025004 and 41201523) and the Ministry of Environmental Protection (201009032–03). We are grateful to Jun-Tao Wang for his assistance in data analysis and to Peng Cao for her help in revising the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jing Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yuan-Ming Zheng
    • 1
  • Yu-Rong Liu
    • 1
  • Yi-Bing Ma
    • 3
  • Hang-Wei Hu
    • 1
    • 4
  • Ji Zheng He
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Plant Nutrition and Nutrient Cycling, Ministry of Agriculture, Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional PlanningChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Melbourne School of Land and EnvironmentThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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