Soil pH regulates the abundance and diversity of Group 1.1c Crenarchaeota

Laura E Lehtovirta, James I Prosser, Graeme W Nicol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)


Archaeal communities in many acidic forest soil systems are dominated by a distinct crenarchaeal lineage Group 1.1c. In addition, they are found consistently in other acidic soils including grassland pasture, moorland and alpine soils. To determine whether soil pH is a major factor in determining their presence and abundance, Group 1.1c community size and composition were investigated across a pH gradient from 4.5 to 7.5 that has been maintained for > 40 years. The abundances of Group 1.1c Crenarchaeota, total Crenarchaeota and total bacteria were assessed by quantitative PCR (qPCR) targeting 16S rRNA genes and the diversity of Group 1.1c crenarchaeal community was investigated by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and phylogenetic analysis. The abundance of Group 1.1c Crenarchaeota declined as the pH increased, whereas total Crenarchaeota and Bacteria showed no clear trend. Community diversity of Group 1.1c Crenarchaeota was also influenced with different DGGE bands dominating at different pH. Group 1.1c Crenarchaeota were also quantified in 13 other soils representing a range of habitats, soil types and pH. These results exhibited the same trend as that shown across the pH gradient with Group 1.1c Crenarchaeota representing a greater proportion of total Crenarchaeota in the most acidic soils.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-376
Number of pages10
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Issue number3
Early online date24 Jul 2009
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • bacteria
  • crenarchaeota
  • DNA, archaeal
  • DNA, bacterial
  • ecosystem
  • electrophoresis, polyacrylamide gel
  • hydrogen-ion concentration
  • phylogeny
  • polymerase chain reaction
  • RNA, ribosomal, 16S
  • sequence analysis, DNA
  • soil
  • soil microbiology


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