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Assessing soil biological characteristics: a comparison of bulk soil community DNA-, PLFA-, and Biolog-analyses

Widmer, F.; Fliessbach, A.; Laczkó, E.; Schulze-Aurich, J. and Zeyer, J. (2001) Assessing soil biological characteristics: a comparison of bulk soil community DNA-, PLFA-, and Biolog-analyses. Soil Biology & Biochemistry (33), pp. 1029-1036.

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Soil microbiological analyses may serve as a means for assessing soil characteristics. Standard microbiological culture-techniques, however, leave over 90% of the microorganisms in the environment unaccounted for. Several more recently developed analytical techniques such as DNA, phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA), and community level substrate utilization (CLSU) Ængerprints allow for more detailed analyses of soil microbial communities. We applied analyses of (1) community DNA with PCR and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP), (2) community PLFAs with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, and (3) CLSU with Biologe gram-negative-plates, to evaluate the biological characteristics of three soils used in pesticide degradation studies. Each of these methods analyzes a different aspect of soil microbial characteristics. A protocol was developed for the statistical comparison and combination of the data from all the analyses, thus allowing for a polyphasic approach to biological soil characterization. We found that all three methods yielded highly reproducible results for each soil and allowed to distinguish the soils based on the structures of speciÆc gene- and PLFA-pools as well as on CLSU Ængerprints. Not all methods, however, revealed the same relative similarities of the three soils based on cluster analysis of the biological characteristics. These results demonstrate the value of comparative data analyses and indicate that biological soil characterization needs to be interpreted with caution if it is performed with one method only.
(C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Soil quality; Soil biology; Community level physiological profile; CLPP; Community changes, Bodenfruchtbarkeit, Bodenbiologie, Bodenökologie
Subjects: Soil > Nutrient turnover
Soil > Soil quality
Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Soil > Soil quality > Soil biology
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Soil
Related Links:http://www.fibl.org/forschung/anbautechnik-einjaehrig/index.php
Deposited By: Fließbach, Dr. Andreas
ID Code:2944
Deposited On:29 Jun 2004
Last Modified:19 May 2021 14:46
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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