Microbial Communities Responsible for the Decomposition of Rice Straw Compost in a Japanese Rice Paddy Field Determined by Phospholipid Fatty Acid (PLFA) Analysis





To identify the microbial communities responsible for the decomposition of rice straw compost in soil during the rice cultivation period, phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) composition of rice straw compost was determined by periodically sampling the compost from a Japanese rice field under flooded conditions. About 21% of the compost was decomposed within a period of 3 months. The total amount of PLFAs, as an indicator of microbial biomass, was significantly lower under drained conditions than under flooded conditions and was relatively constant during the flooding period. This indicates that the microbial biomass in the compost samples did not increase during the gradual decomposition of rice straw compost under flooded conditions. The proportion of branched-chain PLFAs (biomarker of Gram-positive and anaerobic Gram-negative bacteria) slightly decreased during the early period after placement, and increased gradually afterwards. Among the branched-chain PLFAs, i15 : 0, ai15 : 0, i16 : 0 and i17 : 0 PLFAs predominated and their proportions increased gradually except for i16 : 0. The proportion of straight mono-unsaturated PLFAs (biomarker of Gram-negative bacteria) was almost constant throughout the period, and 18 : 1ω9 and 18 : 1ω7 PLFAs predominated. The proportion of straight poly-unsaturated PLFAs as a biomarker of eukaryotes including fungi was also constant throughout the period, except for a decrease under drained conditions. Straight poly-unsaturated PLFAs consisted mainly of 18 : 2ω6c PLFA. Therefore, these results suggest that the proportions of Gram-positive and anaerobic Gram-negative bacteria increased during the decomposition of rice straw compost in flooded paddy field. Statistical analyses enabled to divide PLFA patterns of microbiota in the rice straw compost into two groups, one group consisting of rice straw compost samples collected before mid-season drainage and the other of samples collected after mid-season drainage. Small squared distances among samples in cluster analysis indicated that the community structure of microbiota was similar to each other as a whole. These results suggest that the microbial communities changed gradually during the period of placement, and that mid-season drainage may have affected the community structure of microbiota. Principal component analysis of the PLFA composition suggested that the succession of microbiota along with the decomposition in flooded soil was similar between rice straw compost and rice straw and that the changes in the community structure during the decomposition in flooded soil were more conspicuous for rice straw than for rice straw compost.


  • Soil science and plant nutrition

    Soil science and plant nutrition 50(8), 1229-1236, 2004-12-01


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