Effect of nitrogen fertilizer and/or rice straw amendment on methanogenic archaeal communities and methane production from a rice paddy soil

Qiongli Bao, Yizong Huang, Fenghua Wang, San'an Nie, Graeme W Nicol, Huaiying Yao, Longjun Ding

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40 Citations (Scopus)


Nitrogen fertilization and returning straw to paddy soil are important factors that regulate CH4 production. To evaluate the effect of rice straw and/or nitrate amendment on methanogens, a paddy soil was anaerobically incubated for 40 days. The results indicated that while straw addition increased CH4 production and the abundances of mcrA genes and their transcripts, nitrate amendment showed inhibitory effects on them. The terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis based on mcrA gene revealed that straw addition obviously changed methanogenic community structure. Based on mcrA gene level, straw-alone addition stimulated Methanosarcinaceaes at the early stage of incubation (first 11 days), but nitrate showed inhibitory effect. The relative abundance of Methanobacteriaceae was also stimulated by straw addition during the first 11 days. Furthermore, Methanosaetaceae were enriched by nitrate-alone addition after 11 days, while Methanocellaceae were enriched by nitrate addition especially within the first 5 days. The transcriptional methanogenic community indicated more dynamic and complicated responses to straw and/or nitrate addition. Based on mcrA transcript level, nitrate addition alone resulted in the increase of Methanocellaceae and the shift from Methanosarcinaceae to Methanosaetaceae during the first 5 days of incubation. Straw treatments increased the relative abundance of Methanobacteriaceae after 11 days. These results demonstrate that nitrate addition influences methanogens which are transcriptionally and functionally active and can alleviate CH4 production associated with straw amendment in paddy soil incubations, presumably through competition for common substrates between nitrate-utilizing organisms and methanogens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5989-5998
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number13
Early online date29 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

This project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China Grant 31272256 and 41471206. We would like to thank Dr. Ke Ma for measuring gases and acetate in the present study.


  • rice straw
  • nitrate
  • methane
  • methanogens
  • paddy soil


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