Author(s): van Elsas JD, Chiurazzi M, Mallon CA, Elhottova D, Kristufek V,
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Abstract Natural ecosystems show variable resistance to invasion by alien species, and this resistance can relate to the species diversity in the system. In soil, microorganisms are key components that determine life support functions, but the functional redundancy in the microbiota of most soils has long been thought to overwhelm microbial diversity-function relationships. We here show an inverse relationship between soil microbial diversity and survival of the invading species Escherichia coli O157:H7, assessed by using the marked derivative strain T. The invader's fate in soil was determined in the presence of (i) differentially constructed culturable bacterial communities, and (ii) microbial communities established using a dilution-to-extinction approach. Both approaches revealed a negative correlation between the diversity of the soil microbiota and survival of the invader. The relationship could be explained by a decrease in the competitive ability of the invader in species-rich vs. species-poor bacterial communities, reflected in the amount of resources used and the rate of their consumption. Soil microbial diversity is a key factor that controls the extent to which bacterial invaders can establish.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation