Title

Choice of Methods for Soil Microbial Community Analysis: PLFA Maximizes Power Compared to CLPP and PCR-Based Approaches

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-2006

Abstract

Polyphasic studies that used phospholipid fatty acid analysis (PLFA) in conjunction with community level physiological profiling (CLPP) or PCR-based molecular methods were analyzed in order to evaluate the power of each strategy to detect treatment effects on soil microbial community structure (MCS). We found no studies where CLPP or PCR-based methods differentiated treatments that were not also differentiated by PLFA. In 14 of 32 studies (44%), PLFA differentiated treatments that were not resolved by CLPP analysis. In 5 of 25 studies (20%), PLFA differentiated treatments that were not resolved by PCR-based methods. We discuss PLFA, CLPP, and PCR-based methods with respect to power to discriminate change in MCS versus potential for characterization of underlying population level changes.