Influence of altitude on soil microbial community variability


Abstract: The concerns on climate change and in particular the increase of global temperatureare inflaming the public debate among scientist in recent years, especially regarding the possibleeffect on environment, animals, plants and biodiversity. Microbial populations in soil are climatedependent.Changes in soil microbial population could influence plant growth, leading to nonvisibleeffects in short-term on agriculture system, but dramatically changing the soil ecosystemin the long run. We aim at determining the effect of temperature and its relation with altitude onthe microbial community living in three different transects of altitude cultivated with grapevines(cv. Chardonnay) in Trentino region. The final goal is to determine if temperature has a majorimpact on microbial richness and variability. Soil samples were collected in each altitude transectand cultivable microorganisms’ abundance and total community variability was analysed. A firstrepresentative sampling has been carried out in November 2009, followed by a systematicsampling along a W-shaped design in February 2010. In February bacterial and fungal growthshowed a significant difference due to the altitude (P < 0.05) inside each site, but not a generaltrend was measured comparing the three different transects. Overall comparison of bacterial andfungal growth from November to February showed a significant decrease which is attributable tothe different soil temperature in different periods.Denaturant gradient gel electrophoresis of total fungi was set up with a firstly selected set ofprimer to assess fungal variability. Isolation of morphologically different fungi allowed DGGEmarker creation.

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