Archaeal communities in boreal forest tree rhizospheres respond to changing soil temperatures

Malin Bomberg (Corresponding Author), U. Münster, J. Pumpanen, H. Ilvesniemi, J. Heinonsalo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)


    Temperature has generally great effects on both the activity and composition of microbial communities in different soils. We tested the impact of soil temperature and three different boreal forest tree species on the archaeal populations in the bulk soil, rhizosphere, and mycorrhizosphere. Scots pine, silver birch, and Norway spruce seedlings were grown in forest humus microcosms at three different temperatures, 7–11.5°C (night–day temperature), 12–16°C, and 16–22°C, of which 12–16°C represents the typical mid-summer soil temperature in Finnish forests. RNA and DNA were extracted from indigenous ectomycorrhiza, non-mycorrhizal long roots, and boreal forest humus and tested for the presence of archaea by nested PCR of the archaeal 16S rRNA gene followed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiling and sequencing. Methanogenic Euryarchaeota belonging to Methanolobus sp. and Methanosaeta sp. were detected on the roots and mycorrhiza. The most commonly detected archaeal 16S rRNA gene sequences belonged to group I.1c Crenarchaeota, which are typically found in boreal and alpine forest soils. Interestingly, also one sequence belonging to group I.1b Crenarchaeota was detected from Scots pine mycorrhiza although sequences of this group are usually found in agricultural and forest soils in temperate areas. Tree- and temperature-related shifts in the archaeal population structure were observed. A clear decrease in crenarchaeotal DGGE band number was seen with increasing temperature, and correspondingly, the number of euryarchaeotal DGGE bands, mostly methanogens, increased. The greatest diversity of archaeal DGGE bands was detected in Scots pine roots and mycorrhizas. No archaea were detected from humus samples from microcosms without tree seedling, indicating that the archaea found in the mycorrhizosphere and root systems were dependent on the plant host. The detection of archaeal 16S rRNA gene sequences from both RNA and DNA extractions show that the archaeal populations were living and that they may have significant contribution to the methane cycle in boreal forest soil, especially when soil temperatures rise.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)205-217
    Number of pages13
    JournalMicrobial Ecology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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