Redox cycle of iron (Fe) is the central process in the biogeochemistry of paddy field soil. Although Fe(II)-oxidizing process is mediated by both abiotic and biotic reactions, microorganisms involved in the process have not been well studied in paddy field soil. The present study investigated the community structure of microaerophilic Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB) in the family Gallionellaceae in the plow layer of paddy fields located in the central (Anjo) and northeastern (Omagari) Japan since the members in the family are the typical FeOB in circumneutral freshwater environments and possibly have the significant role for Fe(II) oxidation in paddy field soils. A primer set targeting 16S rRNA gene of Gallionella-related FeOB was newly designed for the polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) and quantitative PCR (qPCR) analyses. DGGE analysis showed significant differences in the band patterns between the field sites. Besides, minor differences were observed in the patterns between the soil depths (0–1 cm and below 1 cm) in the Anjo field, while the patterns were relatively stable in the Omagari field during the annual rice cultivation practices. In total 54 bands were sequenced and clustered into 20 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) on the basis of the 97% similarity. Eighteen out of twenty OTUs (50 of 54 bands) were affiliated within the FeOB cluster of Gallionellaceae, some of which were clustered with known microaerophilic FeOB, Ferrigenium kumadai, Ferriphaselus amnicola, ‘Sideroxydans lithotrophicus’ and ‘S. paludicola’. The number of the 16S rRNA gene copies was 105–107 and 106–108 copies g−1 dried soil in the two paddy fields and negatively correlated to the contents of acetate-extractable Fe(II) in the soils during the rice cultivation period. These results suggested inhabitance of considerable number of diverse Gallionella-related FeOB and their potential involvement in the Fe(II)-oxidizing process of soil, especially during the rice cultivation period in the paddy field soils.
- Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE)
- iron-oxidizing bacteria
- paddy field soil