New publication from Pinheiro Alves de Souza et al. in Microbial Ecology: Deterministic development of soil Microbial communities in disturbed soils depends on microbial biomass of the bioinoculum

Despite its enormous importance for ecosystem services, factors driving microbial recolonization of soils after disturbance are still poorly understood. Here, we compared the microbial recolonization patterns of a disturbed, autoclaved soil using different amounts of the original non-disturbed soil as inoculum. By using this approach, we manipulated microbial biomass, but did not change microbial diversity of the inoculum. We followed the development of a new soil microbiome after reinoculation over a period of 4 weeks using a molecular barcoding approach as well as qPCR. Focus was given on the assessment of bacteria and archaea. We could show that 1 week after inoculation in all inoculated treatments bacterial biomass exceeded the values from the original soil as a consequence of high dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations in the disturbed soil resulting from the disturbance. This high biomass was persistent over the complete experimental period. In line with the high DOC concentrations, in the first 2 weeks of incubation, copiotrophic bacteria dominated the community, which derived from the inoculum used. Only in the disturbed control soils which did not receive a microbial inoculum, recolonization pattern differed. In contrast, archaeal biomass did not recover over the experimental period and recolonization was strongly triggered by amount of inoculated original soil added. Interestingly, the variability between replicates of the same inoculation density decreased with increasing biomass in the inoculum, indicating a deterministic development of soil microbiomes if higher numbers of cells are used for reinoculation.


Pinheiro Alves de Souza, Y., M. Schloter, W. Weisser, and S. Schulz. 2023. Deterministic development of soil microbial communities in disturbed soils depends on microbial biomass of the bioinoculum. Microbial Ecology.