Humic acid-oxidizing, nitrate-reducing bacteria in agricultural soils

I. J. van Trump Ian J., Kelly C. Wrighton, J. Cameron Thrash, Karrie A. Weber, Gary L. Andersen, John D. Coates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study demonstrates the prevalence, phylogenetic diversity, and physiology of nitrate-reducing microorganisms capable of utilizing reduced humic acids (HA) as electron donors in agricultural soils. Most probable number (MPN) enumeration of agricultural soils revealed large populations (104 to 106 cells g-1 soil) of microorganisms capable of reducing nitrate while oxidizing the reduced HA analog 2,6-anthrahydroquinone disulfonate (AH2DS) to its corresponding quinone. Nitratedependent HA-oxidizing organisms isolated from agricultural soils were phylogenetically diverse and included members of the Alphaproteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria, and Gammaproteobacteria. Advective up-flow columns inoculated with corn plot soil and amended with reduced HA and nitrate supported both HA oxidation and enhanced nitrate reduction relative to no-donor or oxidized HA controls. The additional electron donating capacity of reduced HA could reasonably be attributed to the oxidation of reduced functional groups. Subsequent 16S rRNA gene-based high-density oligonucleotide microarray (PhyloChip) indicated that reduced HA columns supported the development of a bacterial community enriched with members of the Acidobacteria, Firmicutes, and Betaproteobacteria relative to the no-donor control and initial inoculum. This study identifies a previously unrecognized role for HA in stimulating denitrification processes in saturated soil systems. Furthermore, this study indicates that reduced humic acids impact soil geochemistry and the indigenous bacterial community composition. IMPORTANCE This study identifies a new metabolic capacity in soil microbial communities that may be responsible for the mediation of significant nitrogen losses from soil systems. Nitrate-dependent humic acid (HA)-oxidizing organisms isolated from agricultural soils were phylogenetically diverse and included members of Alphaproteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria, and Gammaproteobacteria. Advective up-flow columns inoculated with corn plot soil and amended with reduced HA and nitrate supported both HA oxidation and enhanced nitrate reduction relative to no-donor or oxidized HA controls. The additional electron donating capacity of reduced HA could reasonably be attributed to the oxidation of reduced functional groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00044-11
JournalmBio
Volume2
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology

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    van Trump Ian J., I. J., Wrighton, K. C., Thrash, J. C., Weber, K. A., Andersen, G. L., & Coates, J. D. (2011). Humic acid-oxidizing, nitrate-reducing bacteria in agricultural soils. mBio, 2(4), [e00044-11]. https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00044-11