Denitrifying bacterial communities display different temporal fluctuation patterns across Dutch agricultural soils
Considering the great agronomic and environmental importance of denitrification, the aim of the present study was to study the temporal and spatial factors controlling the abundance and activity of denitrifying bacterial communities in a range of eight agricultural soils over 2 years. Abundance was quantified by qPCR of the nirS, nirK and nosZ genes, and the potential denitrification enzyme activity (DEA) was estimated. Our data showed a significant temporal variation considerably high for the abundance of nirK-harboring communities, followed by nosZ and nirS communities. Regarding soil parameters, the abundances of nosZ, nirS and nirK were mostly influenced by organic material, pH, and slightly by NO3−, respectively. Soil texture was the most important factor regulating DEA, which could not be explained by the abundance of denitrifiers. Analyses of general patterns across lands to understand the soil functioning is not an easy task because the multiple factors influencing processes such as denitrification can skew the data. Careful analysis of atypical sites are necessary to classify the soils according to trait similarity and in this way reach a better predictability of the denitrifiers dynamics.