Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 112, Issue 1, pp 91–99 | Cite as

Frankia communities at revegetating sites in Mt. Ontake, Japan

  • Ken-ichi KuchoEmail author
  • Hiroyuki Tobita
  • Mari Ikebe
  • Mitsue Shibata
  • Akihiro Imaya
  • Daisuke Kabeya
  • Tomoyuki Saitoh
  • Toru Okamoto
  • Kenji Ono
  • Kazuhito Morisada
Original Paper


In 1984 at Mt. Ontake in Japan, an earthquake caused a devastating landslide, and as a result, the vegetation on the south slope of the mountain was completely eliminated. In higher elevation (2000 m) areas, revegetation has not yet been completed even 30 years after the landslide. Revegetation progress throughout the area was heterogeneous. In the partially revegetated areas, actinorhizal plant species such as Alnus maximowiczii and Alnus matsumurae have been found. In the present study, we investigated the Frankia communities in the higher-elevation area using sequence analysis of the amplified nifH (dinitrogenase reductase) gene from nodule and soil samples collected in the disturbed region, undisturbed forest, and in the boundary between the disturbed region and the undisturbed forest. Phylogenetic analysis of partial nifH sequences revealed the presence of six clusters, each of which consisted of highly similar (> 99%) sequences. Four clusters showed significant sequence similarity to Frankia (three Alnus- and a Casuarina-infecting strains). Diversity in the Frankia community was relatively low—only one or two clusters were detected in a site. At most of the sampling sites, a dominant cluster in a nodule coincided with that in rhizosphere soil, indicating that community structure in the rhizosphere is a primary factor that determines occupancy in a nodule. No significant difference in community structure was observed between plant species. Diversity in the Frankia community varied depending on revegetation progress. Cluster A, which was the most dominant in the disturbed region, was likely to have invaded from undisturbed forest.


Actinorhizal plants Alnus spp. nifH Revegetation Rhizosphere soil Root nodule 



We thank Ms. Sae Nakashima and Mr. Takumi Yamamoto for DNA isolation, PCR and sequencing.

Author contribution

KK and HT conceived of and designed the study. KK, HT and DK collected samples. HT, MS, DK and TS collected and analysed vegetation data. AI, TO, KO and KM collected and analysed soil data. KK, HT and MI performed research. KK and MI analysed data and wrote the paper.


This work was supported by the Sumitomo Foundation environmental research grant 133124.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10482_2018_1151_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (69 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 69 kb)
10482_2018_1151_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (431 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 432 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Science and EngineeringKagoshima UniversityKagoshimaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Plant EcologyForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukubaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Forest VegetationForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukubaJapan
  4. 4.Forestry DivisionJapan International Research Center for Agricultural SciencesTsukubaJapan
  5. 5.Tohoku Research CenterForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteMoriokaJapan
  6. 6.Kansai Research CenterForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteMomoyama, Fushimi, KyotoJapan
  7. 7.Department of Forest SoilForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukubaJapan

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