Soil N mineralization, nitrification and dynamic changes in abundance of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea along a 2000 year chronosequence of rice cultivation
Background and Aims Soil mineralization, nitrification, and dynamic changes in abundance of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA) were studied to validate our hypothesis that soil mineralization and nitrification decreased along the chronosequence of rice cultivation. Methods Paddy soils with a 300, 700 and 2000-year cultivation history (P300, P700 and P2000) were selected to study net mineralization and nitrification processes. Dynamic abundance of AOB and AOA was estimated by quantifying their respective amoA gene copies. Results The net mineralization rate was higher for P300 than P700 and P2000. Potential nitrification (N p ) and average nitrification rates (V a ) were similar for P300 and P700 soils, but the simulated potential nitrification rate (V p ) and nitrification rate (k1) was 72 % and 88 % higher for P300 than P700, respectively. V a was about 70 % lower than for P2000 than P300 and P700. AOB amoA gene copies were higher for P300 than P700 and P2000, whereas AOA abundance did not show significant differences. AOB abundance showed a positive response to NH4 supply but AOA did not. Conclusions Both N mineralization and nitrification were depressed with increased cultivation time. Archaea responded to mineralization positively rather than nitrification, which suggested that readily mineralized organic matter may play an important role in AOA.