Change in gene abundance in the nitrogen biogeochemical cycle with temperature and nitrogen addition in Antarctic soils

Jaejoon Jung, Jinki Yeom, Jisun Kim, Jiwon Han, Hyoun Soo Lim, Hyun Park, Seunghun Hyun, Woojun Park

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126 Citations (Scopus)


The microbial community (bacterial, archaeal, and fungi) and eight genes involved in the nitrogen biogeochemical cycle (nifH, nitrogen fixation; bacterial and archaeal amoA, ammonia oxidation; narG, nitrate reduction; nirS, nirK, nitrite reduction; norB, nitric oxide reduction; and nosZ, nitrous oxide reduction) were quantitatively assessed in this study, via real-time PCR with DNA extracted from three Antarctic soils. Interestingly, AOB amoA was found to be more abundant than AOA amoA in Antarctic soils. The results of microcosm studies revealed that the fungal and archaeal communities were diminished in response to warming temperatures (10 °C) and that the archaeal community was less sensitive to nitrogen addition, which suggests that those two communities are well-adapted to colder temperatures. AOA amoA and norB genes were reduced with warming temperatures. The abundance of only the nifH and nirK genes increased with both warming and the addition of nitrogen. NirS-type denitrifying bacteria outnumbered NirK-type denitrifiers regardless of the treatment used. Interestingly, dramatic increases in both NirS and NirK-types denitrifiers were observed with nitrogen addition. NirK types increase with warming, but NirS-type denitrifiers tend to be less sensitive to warming. Our findings indicated that the Antarctic microbial nitrogen cycle could be dramatically altered by temperature and nitrogen, and that warming may be detrimental to the ammonia-oxidizing archaeal community. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to investigate genes associated with each process of the nitrogen biogeochemical cycle in an Antarctic terrestrial soil environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1018-1026
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Microbiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the Polar Academy Program (PAP), KOPRI .


  • Ammonia-oxidizing archaea
  • Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria
  • Climate change
  • Denitrification
  • Nitrification
  • Nitrous oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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