Moso bamboo invasion into broadleaf forests is associated with greater abundance and activity of soil autotrophic bacteria

Abstract

Aims

Plant invasion can alter the soil microbial community and carbon cycling in terrestrial ecosystems; however, shifts in soil autotrophic bacterial communities and their driving environmental factors after plant invasion remain largely unknown. This study examined the relationship between Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys pubscens) invasion into broadleaf forests and autotrophic bacterial community composition-function at two field sites.

Methods

The abundance and composition of autotrophic bacteria were characterized by real-time PCR, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism, and clone library based on the cbbL gene that encodes ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RubisCO).

Results

On average, the cbbL gene abundance was 89% higher and RubisCO enzyme activity 110% higher in the bamboo forest than in the broadleaf forests across the two field sites. The cbbL gene abundance was positively correlated with the RubisCO enzyme activity. The cbbL-containing communities were dominated by the order Rhizobiales, and their composition differed between the forest types and between the two sites, with the effect of site location being greater. Soil readily-oxidizable carbon concentration was a critical factor determining the site location effect on the diversity and activity of the cbbL-containing community.

Conclusion

Greater abundance and activity of autotrophic bacteria were associated with bamboo invasion into broadleaf forests, implying that such invasions are expected to increase the CO2 fixation potential.

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Acknowledgements

This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31670618, 31570602, 31470626) and the Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province (No. LY15C160006). We thank Dr. Guangxia Guo and Prof. Weidong Kong at the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences for their assistance in RubisCO enzyme assay, and anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments that helped to improve the quality of an earlier version of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Yongchun Li or Qiufang Xu.

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Li, Y., Liang, X., Tang, C. et al. Moso bamboo invasion into broadleaf forests is associated with greater abundance and activity of soil autotrophic bacteria. Plant Soil 428, 163–177 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-018-3648-z

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Keywords

  • Carbon cycle
  • cbbL gene
  • Plant invasion
  • CO2-assimilating bacteria
  • Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase