The distribution and diversity of actinomycetes in soil fractions
The results presented were concerned with the survival of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) (pll673) inoculated into soil microcosms, which were destructively fractionated so that the total propagules and spore counts could be determined in each of the soil fractions. It was found that this microorganism became associated with the smallest soil aggregates at the time of inoculation but with incubation of the soil microcosms the mycelia and spores became attached to the larger soil aggregates. In the sterile soil, the streptomycete growth was much greater than in nonsterile soil, perhaps due to the increased supply of nutrients created by autoclaving the soil, and the lack of competition. Many of the newly formed spores in sterile soil were not attached to the soil aggregates, which may have enabled them to be distributed to new micro sites. When the distribution of indigenous actinomycetes in soil was investigated, it ressembled the distribution of Streptomyces coelicolor in nonsterile soil after the inoculant had been through one life cycle. Actinomycetes were then isolated from each of the soil fractions, as well as the unfractionated soil, and each of these strains were identified to genera, if possible. It was found that many of the micromonosporas and streptosporangia were isolated from the 63-251 μm soil aggregates, probably because this fraction contained low eubacterial and streptomycetes populations caused by the low organic content within this soil fraction. There was a high eubacterial count in the 2-20 μm soil aggregates and although the actinomycetes were outcompeted within this soil fraction, their diversity was greatest within this fraction. This diversity was also reflected by their production of different secondary metabolites. DNA was extracted from each of the isolates and amplified using specifically designed primers for high GC microorganisms. Each of the products were individually run on denaturing gradient gels. It was found that the amplified products from actinomycetes formed bands on the denaturing gels which migrated to 3 positions. Each of these positions corresponded to major groups of actinomycetes of which streptomycetes formed one group. The patterns corresponding to the isolates of each soil fraction would be compared with the amplified products derived from in situ soil DNA extracts. It was found that the results were not comparable but this work is still being investigated.