Differences in microbial community structure and nitrogen cycling in natural and drained tropical peatland soils

Mikk Espenberg* (Corresponding Author), Marika Truu, Ülo Mander, Kuno Kasak, Hiie Nõlvak, Teele Ligi, Kristjan Oopkaup, Martin Maddison, Jaak Truu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Tropical peatlands, which play a crucial role in the maintenance of different ecosystem services, are increasingly drained for agriculture, forestry, peat extraction and human settlement purposes. The present study investigated the differences between natural and drained sites of a tropical peatland in the community structure of soil bacteria and archaea and their potential to perform nitrogen transformation processes. The results indicate significant dissimilarities in the structure of soil bacterial and archaeal communities as well as nirK, nirS, nosZ, nifH and archaeal amoA gene-possessing microbial communities. The reduced denitrification and N2-fixing potential was detected in the drained tropical peatland soil. In undisturbed peatland soil, the N2O emission was primarily related to nirS-type denitrifiers and dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium, while the conversion of N2O to N2 was controlled by microbes possessing nosZ clade I genes. The denitrifying microbial community of the drained site differed significantly from the natural site community. The main reducers of N2O were microbes harbouring nosZ clade II genes in the drained site. Additionally, the importance of DNRA process as one of the controlling mechanisms of N2O fluxes in the natural peatlands of the tropics revealed from the results of the study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4742
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date16 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This was supported by the Estonian Research Council (grant IUT2-16); and the EU through the European Regional Development Fund through Centre of Excellence EcolChange and the European Social Fund (Doctoral School of Earth Sciences and Ecology). We would like to thank the PhD students participating in the field works.

Data Availability Statement

All raw sequencing reads have been deposited in the European Nucleotide Archive under the
study accession number PRJEB21930. The data that support the findings of this study can be requested from M.E.

Supplementary information accompanies this paper at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-23032-y


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