Effect of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilization on the composition of rhizobacterial communities of two Chilean Andisol pastures

  • Milko A. Jorquera
  • Oscar A. Martínez
  • Luis G. Marileo
  • Jacquelinne J. Acuña
  • Surinder Saggar
  • María L. Mora
Original Paper


The effect of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilization on composition of rhizobacterial communities of volcanic soils (Andisols) from southern Chile at molecular level is poorly understood. This paper investigates the composition of rhizobacterial communities of two Andisols under pasture after 1- and 6-year applications of N (urea) and P (triple superphosphate). Soil samples were collected from two previously established sites and the composition of rhizobacterial communities was determined by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR–DGGE). The difference in the composition and diversity between rhizobacterial communities was assessed by nonmetric multidimensional scaling (MDS) analysis and the Shannon–Wiener index. In Site 1 (fertilized for 1 year), PCR–DGGE targeting 16S rRNA genes and MDS analysis showed that moderate N application (270 kg N ha−1 year−1) without P significantly changed the composition of rhizobacterial communities. However, no significant community changes were observed with P (240 kg P ha−1 year−1) and N–P application (270 kg N ha−1 year−1 plus 240 kg P ha−1 year−1). In Site 2 (fertilized for 6 years with P; 400 kg P ha−1 year−1), PCR–DGGE targeting rpoB, nifH, amoA and alkaline phosphatase genes and MDS analysis showed changes in rhizobacterial communities only at the highest rate of N application (600 kg N ha−1 year−1). Quantitative PCR targeting 16S rRNA genes also showed higher abundance of bacteria at higher N application. In samples from both sites, the Shannon–Wiener index did not show significant difference in the diversity of rhizobacterial communities. The changes observed in rhizobacterial communities coincide in N fertilized pastures with lower soil pH and higher pasture yields. This study indicates that N–P application affects the soil bacterial populations at molecular level and needs to be considered when developing fertilizer practices for Chilean pastoral Andisols.


Bacterial community Fertilization Pasture Rhizosphere Andisol 



This study was supported by Fondecyt No. 1120505 and 1100625, MEC—Conicyt No. 80100011. O. A. Martínez acknowledges Conicyt Ph.D. scholarship No. 21070354. The authors also thank Anne Austin of Landcare Research New Zealand for English editing support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milko A. Jorquera
    • 1
  • Oscar A. Martínez
    • 2
  • Luis G. Marileo
    • 3
  • Jacquelinne J. Acuña
    • 3
  • Surinder Saggar
    • 4
  • María L. Mora
    • 1
  1. 1.Scientific and Technological Bioresource NucleusUniversidad de La FronteraTemucoChile
  2. 2.Facultad de Ciencias, Instituto de Bioquímica y MicrobiologíaUniversidad Austral de ChileValdiviaChile
  3. 3.Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias de Recursos NaturalesUniversidad de La FronteraTemucoChile
  4. 4.Ecosystems and Global ChangeLandcare ResearchPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

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