Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 14, pp 10496–10505 | Cite as

Long-term nickel exposure altered the bacterial community composition but not diversity in two contrasting agricultural soils

  • Jing Li
  • Hang-Wei Hu
  • Yi-Bing Ma
  • Jun-Tao Wang
  • Yu-Rong Liu
  • Ji-Zheng HeEmail author
Research Article


Nickel pollution imposes deleterious effects on soil ecosystem. The responses of soil microorganisms to long-term nickel pollution under field conditions remain largely unknown. Here, we used high-throughput sequencing to elucidate the impacts of long-term nickel pollution on soil bacterial communities in two contrasting agricultural soils. Our results found that the soil microbial biomass carbon consistently decreased along the nickel gradients in both soils. Nickel pollution selectively favored or impeded the prevalence of several dominant bacterial guilds, in particular, Actinobacteria showed tolerance, while Acidobacteria and Planctomycetes displayed sensitivity. Despite the apparent shifts in the bacterial community composition, no clear tendency in the bacterial diversity and abundance was identified along the nickel gradients in either soil. Collectively, we provide evidence that long-term nickel pollution shifted the soil bacterial communities, resulting in the decrease of microbial biomass although the bacterial diversity was not significantly changed.


Nickel pollution Soil bacterial community Diversity Abundance Community composition Soil microbial biomass carbon Field experiment 



This work was financially supported by National Science Foundation of China (51221892 and 41201523).We gratefully acknowledge Li-Mei Zhang and Miao-Miao Zhang for their assistance during the field sampling.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jing Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hang-Wei Hu
    • 4
  • Yi-Bing Ma
    • 3
  • Jun-Tao Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yu-Rong Liu
    • 1
  • Ji-Zheng He
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.National Soil Fertility and Fertilizer Effects Long-term Monitoring Network, Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional PlanningChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural SciencesThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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