Viruses in soils: morphological diversity and abundance in the rhizosphere

M. M. Swanson, G. Fraser, T. J. Daniell, L. Torrance, P. J. Gregory, M. Taliansky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Soil viruses are potentially of great importance as they may influence the ecology and evolution of soil biological communities through both an ability to transfer genes from host to host and as a potential cause of microbial mortality. Despite this importance, the area of soil virology is understudied. Here, we report the isolation and preliminary characterisation of viruses from soils in the Dundee area of Scotland. Different virus morphotypes including tailed, polyhedral (spherical), rod shaped, filamentous and bacilliform particles were detected in the soil samples. An apparent predominance of small spherical and filamentous bacteriophages was observed, whereas tailed bacteriophages were significantly less abundant. In this report, we also present observations and characterisation of viruses from different soil functional domains surrounding wheat roots: rhizosheath, rhizosphere and bulk soil. In spite of the differences in abundance of bacterial communities in these domains, no significant variations in viral population structure in terms of morphology and abundance were found. Typically, there were approximately 1.1-1.2 x 10(9) virions g(-1) dry weight, implicating remarkable differences in virus-to-bacteria ratios in domains close to roots, rhizosphere and rhizosheath (approximately 0.27) and in bulk soil (approximately 4.68).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-60
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Applied Biology
Volume155
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • Rhizosphere
  • soil microbial community
  • viruses
  • POPULATION-DYNAMICS
  • VIRAL COMMUNITIES
  • RIBOSOMAL-RNA
  • BACTERIOPHAGE
  • PSEUDOMONAS
  • ENVIRONMENTS
  • LYSOGENY
  • SEDIMENT
  • CULTURE

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