The role of resource transfer in positive, non-additive litter decomposition

Autoři: Na Yin aff001;  Roger T. Koide aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, United States of America aff001
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225337


Naturally occurring, mixed litter decomposes at unpredictable rates when individual components do not decompose in mixtures as they do individually. Consequently, nutrient, carbon and energy fluxes associated with decomposition may be difficult to predict. However, predictability is improved when we understand the mechanisms responsible for such non-additive decomposition. In this study, we explored mechanisms to explain our previous observation that an approximately 30% increase in oat straw decomposition due to the presence of clover litter is associated with a significant increase in the activity of cellobiohydrolase, an enzyme involved in litter decomposition. We hypothesized that resources limiting decomposer microbe enzyme activity in oat straw can be supplied by clover litter. Amendment of oat straw with water, NH4Cl, glucose, or NH4Cl combined with glucose did not account for the significant, positive effect of clover litter on oat straw decomposition and cellobiohydrolase activity. However, amendment of oat straw with a complete set of mineral nutrients for plant growth did account for the entire effect of clover litter, and the addition of the complete set of mineral nutrients without N accounted for the majority of the clover effect. In our system, therefore, the majority of the positive effect of clover litter on oat straw decomposition and cellobiohydrolase activity was unexpectedly not attributable to the transfer from clover to oat straw of labile N. We found that mineral soil could substitute for the mineral nutrients other than N. This highlights the role of soil as a potential source of limiting resources for microbes decomposing litter. It may also explain why positive, non-additive decomposition has been observed in some previous studies but not in others depending on whether the soil supplied a resource that limited decomposer activity.

Klíčová slova:

Agricultural soil science – Cereal crops – Decomposition – Fungi – Glucose – Glucose metabolism – Straw – Oat


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2019 Číslo 11