Pollution of Antarctic soils may be attributable to increased nutritional input and diesel contamination via anthropogenic activities. To investigate the effect of these environmental changes on the Antarctic terrestrial ecosystem, soil enzyme activities and microbial communities in 3 types of Antarctic soils were evaluated. The activities of alkaline phosphomonoesterase and dehydrogenase were dramatically increased, whereas the activities of β-glucosidase, urease, arylsulfatase, and fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis were negligible. Alkaline phosphomonoesterase and dehydrogenase activities in the 3 types of soils increased 3- to 10-fold in response to nutritional input, but did not increase in the presence of diesel contamination. Consistent with the enzymatic activity data, increased copy numbers of the phoA gene, encoding an alkaline phosphomonoesterase, and the 16S rRNA gene were verified using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Interestingly, dehydrogenase activity and 16S rRNA gene copy number increased slightly after 30 days, even under diesel contamination, probably because of adaptation of the bacterial population. Intact Antarctic soils showed a predominance of Actinobacteria phylum (mostly Pseudonorcarida species) and other phyla such as Proteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Planctomycetes, Firmicutes, and Verrucomicrobia were present in successively lower proportions. Nutrient addition might act as a selective pressure on the bacterial community, resulting in the prevalence of Actinobacteria phylum (mostly Arthrobacter species). Soils contaminated by diesel showed a predominance of Proteobacteria phylum (mostly Phyllobacterium species), and other phyla such as Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Planctomycetes, and Gemmatimonadetes were present in successively lower proportions. Our data reveal that nutritional input has a dramatic impact on bacterial communities in Antarctic soils and that diesel contamination is likely toxic to enzymes in this population.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Polar Academy Program (PAP) of the Korean Polar Research Institute (KOPRI) and Dr. W. Park was supported by the LG Yonam Foundation, Seoul, South Korea.
- biogeochemical cycle
- community analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology