The Influence of Long-Term Copper Contaminated Agricultural Soil at Different pH Levels on Microbial Communities and Springtail Transcriptional Regulation

T.E. de Boer, N. Tas, M. Braster, E.J.M. Temminghoff, W.F.M. Roling, D. Roelofs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Copper has long been applied for agricultural practises. Like other metals, copper is highly persistent in the environment and biologically active long after its use has ceased. Here we present a unique study on the long-term effects (27 years) of copper and pH on soil microbial communities and on the springtail Folsomia candida an important representative of the soil macrofauna, in an experiment with a full factorial, random block. design. Bacterial communities were mostly affected by pH. These effects were prominent in Acidobacteria, while Actinobacteria and Gammaroteobacteria communities were affected by original and bioavailable copper. Reproduction and survival of the collembolan F. candida was not affected by the studied copper concentrations. However, the transcriptomic responses to copper reflected a mechanism of copper transport and detoxification, while pH exerted effects on nucleotide and protein metabolism and (acute) inflammatory response. We conclude that microbial community structure reflected the history of copper contamination, while gene expression analysis of F. candida is associated with the current level of bioavailable copper. The study is a first step in the development of a molecular strategy aiming at a more comprehensive assessment of various aspects of soil quality and ecotoxicology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-68
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • heavy-metal contamination
  • bacterial community
  • organic status
  • fungal communities
  • arable soil
  • sandy soil
  • diversity
  • toxicity
  • microorganisms
  • microarray

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