Densities and inhibitory phenotypes among indigenous Streptomyces spp. vary across native and agricultural habitats

  • L. K. Otto-HansonEmail author
  • L. L. Kinkel
Soil Microbiology


Streptomyces spp. perform vital roles in natural and agricultural soil ecosystems including in decomposition and nutrient cycling, promotion of plant growth and fitness, and plant disease suppression. Streptomyces densities can vary across the landscape, and inhibitory phenotypes are often a result of selection mediated by microbial competitive interactions in soil communities. Diverse environmental factors, including those specific to habitat, are likely to determine microbial densities in the soil and the outcomes of microbial species interactions. Here, we characterized indigenous Streptomyces densities and inhibitory phenotypes from soil samples (n = 82) collected in 6 distinct habitats across the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (CCESR; agricultural, prairie, savanna, wetland, wet-woodland, and forest). Significant variation in Streptomyces density and the frequency of antagonistic Streptomyces were observed among habitats. There was also significant variation in soil chemical properties among habitats, including percent carbon, percent nitrogen, available phosphorus, extractable potassium, and pH. Density and frequency of antagonists were significantly correlated with one or more environmental parameters across all habitats, though relationships with some parameters differed among habitats. In addition, we found that habitat rather than spatial proximity was a better predictor of variation in Streptomyces density and inhibitory phenotypes. Moreover, habitats least conducive for Streptomyces growth and proliferation, as determined by population density, had increased frequencies of inhibitory phenotypes. Identifying environmental parameters that structure variation in density and frequency of antagonistic Streptomyces can provide insight for determining factors that mediate selection for inhibitory phenotypes across the landscape.


Streptomyces Inhibition phenotype Soil nutrient Habitat Native Agricultural 



We thank Maia Dedrick for performing the modified Herr’s assay on the soil samples. We fully appreciate the rigorous sampling efforts of the members of the Kinkel Lab: Maia Dedrick, Jon Anderson, Patricia Vaz-Jauri, Atenea Garza, Matt Bakker, Dan Schlatter, and A.J. Lange. We also gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Seth Spawn and Sarah Castle to the statistical analyses.

Funding information

Finally, we appreciate the support of the National Science Foundation Microbial Observatories Project 9977907 and the United States Department of Agriculture Microbial Observatories Program Grant 2006-35319-17445 in funding the research project.

Supplementary material

248_2019_1443_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 14 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesSaint PaulUSA

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