Two adjacent paddies of an experimental rice field, subjected to organic and conventional farming, were characterized aiming the comparative assessment of microbiological variations occurring in the bulk paddy soil over the rice cycle. This study comprehended the simultaneous characterization of general physicochemical soil properties [total carbon and nitrogen, pH (H2O and KCl), C:N ratio and water content], biochemical properties [enzymatic activities and Community Level Physiological Profiles (CLPP)], the estimation of cultivable organisms (enumeration of fast growing heterotrophic bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi) and the assessment of bacterial diversity using a culture-independent method (PCR-DGGE fingerprinting). The linkage of the parameters measured was analysed by canonical correspondence analysis (CCA).CCA ordination plots of the CLPP showed a similar pattern of microbial functional activity in both agronomic management systems, except in June. Enzymatic activity, water content and fungi counts were the main factors affecting the observed CLPP time variation. Such a variation was not expressed by the Shannon and evenness indices, which did not evidence significant differences in the bacterial and functional diversity between or within farming type over the analysed period. The cluster and CCA analyses of the DGGE profiles allowed the distinction of the bacterial communities of both paddies, with temporal variations being observed in the organically managed field but not in the conventional paddy. Enzymatic activity, pH and molinate content were the factors which most contributed to the observed variations. Altogether these results underline the functional redundancy of the rice paddy soil and evidence the temporal variations on the metabolic activity of soil, irrespective of farming type.
- Agronomic management
- Bacterial community diversity
- Cultivable microbial counts
- DGGE fingerprinting
- Soil enzymatic activity