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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2010, Article ID 319721, 7 pages
Research Article

Responses of Ammonia-Oxidising Bacterial Communities to Nitrogen, Lime, and Plant Species in Upland Grassland Soil

1Microbial Ecology Group, School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
2Agriculture Department, Askham Bryan College, Askham Bryan, York 23 3FR, UK
3Ecosystem Science and Management Program, University of Northern British Columbia, 3333 University Way, Prince George, BC, Canada V2N 4Z9
4Soil Biology Group, School of Earth and Environment (M087), The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, WA 6009 Crawley, Australia

Received 30 January 2010; Accepted 16 June 2010

Academic Editor: Oliver Dilly

Copyright © 2010 Deirdre C. Rooney et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Agricultural improvement of seminatural grasslands has been shown to result in changes to plant and microbial diversity, with consequences for ecosystem functioning. A microcosm approach was used to elucidate the effects of two key components of agricultural improvement (nitrogen addition and liming) on ammonia-oxidising bacterial (AOB) communities in an upland grassland soil. Plant species characteristic of unimproved and improved pastures (A. capillaris and L. perenne) were planted in microcosms, and lime, nitrogen ( N H 4 N O 3 ), or lime plus nitrogen added. The AOB community was profiled using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) of the amoA gene. AOB community structure was largely altered by N H 4 N O 3 addition, rather than liming, although interactions between nitrogen addition and plant species were also evident. Results indicate that nitrogen addition drives shifts in the structure of key microbial communities in upland grassland soils, and that plant species may play a significant role in determining AOB community structure.