Plant and Soil

, Volume 285, Issue 1–2, pp 347–358 | Cite as

Field Released Transgenic Papaya Affects Microbial Communities and Enzyme Activities in Soil

  • X. D. Wei
  • H. L. Zou
  • L. M. Chu
  • B. Liao
  • C. M. Ye
  • C. Y. Lan
Original paper


Soil properties, microbial communities, and enzyme activities were studied in soil planted with transgenic or nontransgenic papaya under field conditions. The transgenic papaya contained a replicase (RP) mutant gene of the papaya ringspot virus (PRSV), which conferred resistance to the virus, the neomycin phosphotransferase II (NPT II) marker gene, which conferred Km resistance, and a cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter (CaMV 35S). There were significant differences (< 0.05) in the total number of colony forming units (CFUs) of bacteria, actinomycetes, and fungi between soils planted with RP-transgenic and nontransgenic plants; total CFUs of bacteria, actinomycetes, and fungi in soil planted with transgenic papaya were significantly higher by 0.43, 0.80, and 0.46 times, respectively. Significantly higher (< 0.05) CFUs of bacteria, actinomycetes, and fungi resistant to kanamycin (Km) were present in soils planted with the transgenic papaya than in those planted with nontransgenic papaya. Resistance quotients (CFU in the presence of a chemical relative to that without) of Km-resistant bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi were higher in soil planted with transgenic papaya, and the resistance quotients of Km-resistant bacteria, actinomycetes, and fungi in soils planted with transgenic papaya increased statistically significantly (P<0.05) from 1.5 to 2.5, from 1.2 to 2.6, and from 0.9 to 2.8 times, respectively. Soils planted with transgenic papaya had significantly higher enzyme activities of arylsulfatases (+5.4 times), alkaline phosphatases (+0.5 time), invertase (+0.5 time) and phosphodiesterases (+0.2 time), but lower enzyme activities of proteases (−2.1 times), polyphenol oxidases (−1.4 times), urease (−0.2 time) than the soils planted with nontransgenic papaya. Our results suggest that transgenic papaya could alter chemical properties, enzyme activities, and microbial communities in soil.


Transgenic papaya Soil microbes Enzyme activity Kanamycin resistance Resistance quotient to kanamycin 


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This work was financially supported by the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China (No. 20020558044), the Key Program of the Ministry of Education of China (No. 031280), the Guangzhou Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau (No. 2001-17) and the Guangzhou Municipal Key Research (2002E2-E0182).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • X. D. Wei
    • 1
  • H. L. Zou
    • 2
  • L. M. Chu
    • 2
  • B. Liao
    • 1
  • C. M. Ye
    • 1
  • C. Y. Lan
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Genetic Engineering of Ministry of Education and the State Key Laboratory for BiocontrolSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of BiologyThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatin, Hong Kong SARChina

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