Exploring the bacterial communities inhabiting selected forest soils in Kenya

Forest soil bacteria play important ecological roles and thus a basic understanding of their diversity and community composition is essential. A study conducted in selected counties in Kenya has reported that mangroves and rainforests harbour types of soil bacteria. This work was carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Embu, namely Prof. Eucharia Kenya, Prof. Romano Mwirichia, Dr. Grace Kinyanjui, Mr. Alex Kipnyargis and Mr. Franklin Kinyua in collaboration with Dr. Fathiya Khamis of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology and Ms. Mary Mwangi of Kenyatta University.

The team found that the dominant phyla in both forests included Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria and Acidobacteria. The overall bacterial community composition differed significantly between the studied sites. Edaphic properties also varied markedly within and between the forests. It was evident from this study that soil chemical parameters were the major drivers of the observed bacterial diversity.

The study was supported by the National Research Fund, Kenya.

The findings have been published by the Heliyon Journal under the title “Amplicon-based assessment of bacterial diversity and community structure in three tropical forest soils in Kenya”. The full paper can be accessed using this link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e11577