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Do arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi stabilize litter-derived carbon in soil?

Verbruggen, Erik; Jansa, Jan; Hammer, Edith LU and Rillig, Matthias C. (2016) In Journal of Ecology 104(1). p.261-269
Abstract
1. Fine roots and mycorrhiza often represent the largest input of carbon (C) into soils and are therefore of primary relevance to the soil C balance. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi have previously been found to increase litter decomposition which may lead to reduced soil C stocks, but these studies have focused on immediate decomposition of relatively high amounts of high-quality litter and may therefore not hold in many ecological settings over longer terms. 2. Here, we assessed the effect of mycorrhizal fungi on the fate of C and nitrogen (N) contained within a realistic amount of highly C-13-/N-15-labelled root litter in soil. This litter was either added fresh or after a 3-month incubation period under field conditions to a hyphal... (More)
1. Fine roots and mycorrhiza often represent the largest input of carbon (C) into soils and are therefore of primary relevance to the soil C balance. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi have previously been found to increase litter decomposition which may lead to reduced soil C stocks, but these studies have focused on immediate decomposition of relatively high amounts of high-quality litter and may therefore not hold in many ecological settings over longer terms. 2. Here, we assessed the effect of mycorrhizal fungi on the fate of C and nitrogen (N) contained within a realistic amount of highly C-13-/N-15-labelled root litter in soil. This litter was either added fresh or after a 3-month incubation period under field conditions to a hyphal in-growth core where mycorrhizal abundance was either reduced or not through rotation. After 3 months of incubation with a plant under glasshouse conditions, the effect of turning cores on residual C-13 and N-15 inside the cores was measured, as well as C-13 incorporation in microbial signature fatty acids and N-15 incorporation of plants. 3. Turning of cores increased the abundance of fungal decomposers and C-13 loss from cores, while N-15 content of cores and plants was unaffected. Despite the difference in disturbance that turning the cores could have caused, the results suggest that mycorrhizal fungi and field incubation of litter acted to additively increase the proportion of C-13 left in cores. 4. Synthesis. Apart from stimulating litter decomposition as previously shown, mycorrhizas can also stabilize C during litter decomposition and this effect is persistent through time. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
isotopes, litter decomposition, plant-soil (below-ground) interactions, priming, saprobic fungi, soil carbon
in
Journal of Ecology
volume
104
issue
1
pages
261 - 269
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • wos:000368298700025
  • scopus:84954406693
ISSN
1365-2745
DOI
10.1111/1365-2745.12496
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
46165497-4cd0-4aed-b125-91231e71362b (old id 8738844)
date added to LUP
2016-02-26 14:45:26
date last changed
2017-11-19 03:16:31
@article{46165497-4cd0-4aed-b125-91231e71362b,
  abstract     = {1. Fine roots and mycorrhiza often represent the largest input of carbon (C) into soils and are therefore of primary relevance to the soil C balance. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi have previously been found to increase litter decomposition which may lead to reduced soil C stocks, but these studies have focused on immediate decomposition of relatively high amounts of high-quality litter and may therefore not hold in many ecological settings over longer terms. 2. Here, we assessed the effect of mycorrhizal fungi on the fate of C and nitrogen (N) contained within a realistic amount of highly C-13-/N-15-labelled root litter in soil. This litter was either added fresh or after a 3-month incubation period under field conditions to a hyphal in-growth core where mycorrhizal abundance was either reduced or not through rotation. After 3 months of incubation with a plant under glasshouse conditions, the effect of turning cores on residual C-13 and N-15 inside the cores was measured, as well as C-13 incorporation in microbial signature fatty acids and N-15 incorporation of plants. 3. Turning of cores increased the abundance of fungal decomposers and C-13 loss from cores, while N-15 content of cores and plants was unaffected. Despite the difference in disturbance that turning the cores could have caused, the results suggest that mycorrhizal fungi and field incubation of litter acted to additively increase the proportion of C-13 left in cores. 4. Synthesis. Apart from stimulating litter decomposition as previously shown, mycorrhizas can also stabilize C during litter decomposition and this effect is persistent through time.},
  author       = {Verbruggen, Erik and Jansa, Jan and Hammer, Edith and Rillig, Matthias C.},
  issn         = {1365-2745},
  keyword      = {isotopes,litter decomposition,plant-soil (below-ground) interactions,priming,saprobic fungi,soil carbon},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {261--269},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Journal of Ecology},
  title        = {Do arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi stabilize litter-derived carbon in soil?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12496},
  volume       = {104},
  year         = {2016},
}