Diversity of the bacterial community in the surface soil of a pear orchard based on 16S rRNA gene analysis

A cultivation-independent approach based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified partial small subunit rRNA genes was used to characterize bacterial populations in the surface soil of a commercial pear orchard consisting of different pear cultivars during two consecutive growing seasons. Pyrus communis L. cvs Blanquilla, Conference, and Williams are among the most widely cultivated cultivars in Europe and account for the majority of pear production in Northeastern Spain. To assess the heterogeneity of the community structure in response to environmental variables and tree phenology, bacterial populations were examined using PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) followed by cluster analysis of the 16S ribosomal DNA profiles by means of the unweighted pair group method with arithmetic means. Similarity analysis of the band patterns failed to identify characteristic fingerprints associated with the pear cultivars. Both environmentally and biologically based principal-component analyses showed that the microbial communities changed significantly throughout the year depending on temperature and, to a lesser extent, on tree phenology and rainfall. Prominent DGGE bands were excised and sequenced to gain insight into the identities of the predominant bacterial populations. Most DGGE band sequences were related to bacterial phyla, such as Bacteroidetes, Cyanobacteria, Acidobacteria, Proteobacteria, Nitrospirae, and Gemmatimonadetes, previously associated with typical agronomic crop environments ​
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