Autochthonous microbial community associated with pine needle forest litterfall influences its degradation under natural environmental conditions

  • Rishi Mahajan
  • Anna Nikitina
  • Yury Litti
  • Alla Nozhevnikova
  • Gunjan GoelEmail author


The slow natural degradation of chir pine (Pinus roxburghii) needle litterfall and its accumulation on forest floors have been attributed to its lignocellulosic complexities of the biomass. The present study offers a microbiological insight into the role of autochthonous microflora associated with pine needle litterfall in its natural degradation. The denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting indicated actinomycetes (Saccharomonospora sp., Glycomyces sp., Agrococcus sp., Leifsonia sp., Blastocatella sp., and Microbacterium sp.) as a dominant microbial community associated with pine needle litterfall with the absence of fungal decomposers. On exclusion of associated autochthonous microflora from pine litterfall resulted in colonization by decomposer fungi identified as Penicillium chrysogenum and Aspergillus sp., which otherwise failed to colonize the litterfall under natural conditions. The results, therefore, indicated that the autochthonous microbial community of pine needle litterfall (dominated by actinomycetes) obstructs the colonization of litter-degrading fungi and subsequently hinders the overall process of natural degradation of litterfall.


Pine needle litterfall Autochthonous microbial community Actinomycetes 



The research is funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, for Indo-Russian collaborative project “Elucidating the linkage between key limiting processes and microorganisms during anaerobic degradation of lignocellulosic waste” INT/RUS/RFBR/P-175.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rishi Mahajan
    • 1
  • Anna Nikitina
    • 2
  • Yury Litti
    • 2
  • Alla Nozhevnikova
    • 2
  • Gunjan Goel
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biotechnology and BioinformaticsJaypee University of Information TechnologyWaknaghatIndia
  2. 2.Winogradsky Institute of MicrobiologyResearch Center of Biotechnology of the Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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