PH is a good predictor of the distribution of anoxygenic purple phototrophic bacteria in Arctic soils

Youzhi Feng, Paul Grogan, J. Gregory Caporaso, Huayong Zhang, Xiangui Lin, Rob Knight, Haiyan Chu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Anoxygenic purple phototrophic bacteria (AnPPB) are ecologically important microorganisms that are sensitive to shifts in environmental variables. However, there is little information about the composition and distribution of AnPPB in the Arctic. Here we present the first study of the spatial distribution of soil AnPPB in Arctic soils using pyrosequencing and quantitative real-time PCR. We show that the AnPPB community in Arctic soils is as diverse and abundant as that in lower latitudes. The phylum Alphaproteobacteria accounted for 54.1% of the total sequences; about one third of total sequences were identified as novel phylotypes. Consistent with their anaerobic niche, AnPPB abundances were positively correlated with soil moisture content. Furthermore, the relative and absolute abundances of several dominant AnPPB taxa were significantly correlated with soil pH. AnPPB phylogenetic community structure was correlated with soil pH, as was alpha diversity, with a minimum around pH 6.0. Previous research has shown that pH is a good predictor of the structure of soil bacterial communities. Our results here suggest that pH could be a key factor driving phylogenetic diversity of not just overall bacterial communities but also of discrete functional guilds of bacteria in terrestrial ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-200
Number of pages8
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Anoxygenic purple phototrophic bacteria
  • Arctic soils
  • Pyrosequencing
  • Soil pH
  • Spatial distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Soil Science


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