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Effects of a humic acid and its size-fractions on the bacterial community of soil rhizosphere under maize (Zea mays L.).

Istituto di Chimica Agraria ed Ambientale, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Via Emilia Parmense 84, 29100 Piacenza, Italy.
Chemosphere (Impact Factor: 3.5). 09/2009; 77(6):829-37. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2009.07.077
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The effects of a humic acid (HA) and its size-fractions on plants carbon deposition and the structure of microbial communities in the rhizosphere soil of maize (Zea mays L.) plants were studied. Experiments were conducted in rhizobox systems that separate an upper soil-plant compartment from a lower compartment, where roots are excluded from the rhizosphere soil by a nylon membrane. The upper rhizobox compartment received the humic additions, whereas, after roots development, the rhizosphere soil in the lower compartment was sampled and sliced into thin layers. The lux-marked biosensor Pseudomonas fluorescens 10586 pUCD607 biosensor showed a significant increase in the deposition of bioavailable sources of carbon in the rhizosphere of soils when treated with bulk HA, but no response was found for treatments with the separated size-fractions. PCR-DGGE molecular fingerprintings revealed that the structure of rhizosphere microbial communities was changed by all humic treatments and that the smaller and more bioavailable size-fractions were more easily degraded by microbial activity than the bulk HA. On the other hand, highly hydrophobic and strongly associated humic molecules in the bulk HA required additional plant rhizodeposition before their bio-transformation could occur. This work highlights the importance of applying advanced biological and biotechnological methods to notice changes occurring in plant rhizodeposition and rhizosphere microbial activity. Moreover, it suggests correlations between the molecular properties of humic matter and their effects on microbial communities in the rhizosphere as mediated by root exudation.

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