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Differences in substrate use efficiency : impacts of microbial community composition, land use management, and substrate complexity

Bölscher, Tobias; Wadsö, Lars LU ; Börjesson, Gunnar and Herrmann, Anke M. (2016) In Biology and Fertility of Soils 52(4). p.547-559
Abstract

Microbial substrate use efficiency is an important property in process-based soil organic matter models, but is often assumed to be constant in mechanistic models. However, previous studies question if a constant efficiency is appropriate, in particular when evaluating carbon (C) cycling across temperatures and various substrates. In the present study, we evaluated the relation between substrate use efficiency, microbial community composition and substrate complexity in contrasting long-term management regimes (47–49 years of either arable, ley farming, grassland, or forest systems). Microbial community composition was assessed by phospholipid fatty acid analysis and three indices of substrate use efficiencies were considered: (i)... (More)

Microbial substrate use efficiency is an important property in process-based soil organic matter models, but is often assumed to be constant in mechanistic models. However, previous studies question if a constant efficiency is appropriate, in particular when evaluating carbon (C) cycling across temperatures and various substrates. In the present study, we evaluated the relation between substrate use efficiency, microbial community composition and substrate complexity in contrasting long-term management regimes (47–49 years of either arable, ley farming, grassland, or forest systems). Microbial community composition was assessed by phospholipid fatty acid analysis and three indices of substrate use efficiencies were considered: (i) thermodynamic efficiency, (ii) calorespirometric ratio, and (iii) metabolic quotient. Three substrates, d-glucose, l-alanine, or glycogen, varying in complexity, were added separately to soils, and heat production as well as C mineralization was determined over a 32-h incubation period at 12.5 °C. Microbial communities from forest systems were most efficient in utilizing substrates, supporting our hypothesis that maturing ecosystems become more efficient. These changes in efficiency were linked to microbial community composition with fungi and Gram-negative bacteria being important biomarkers. Despite our initial hypothesis, complex substrate such as glycogen was utilized most efficiently. Our findings emphasize that differences in land use management systems as well as the composition of soil organic matter need to be considered when modelling C dynamics in soils. Further research is required to establish and evaluate appropriate proxies for substrate use efficiencies in various ecosystems.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
keywords
Isothermal calorimetry, Land use, Microbial carbon use efficiency, Microbial community, Substrate complexity
in
Biology and Fertility of Soils
volume
52
issue
4
pages
13 pages
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • Scopus:84959122944
  • WOS:000374659400011
ISSN
0178-2762
DOI
10.1007/s00374-016-1097-5
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f152c537-679b-4eac-bafd-8ff6dd54811f
date added to LUP
2016-05-10 10:08:09
date last changed
2017-01-15 04:38:49
@article{f152c537-679b-4eac-bafd-8ff6dd54811f,
  abstract     = {<p>Microbial substrate use efficiency is an important property in process-based soil organic matter models, but is often assumed to be constant in mechanistic models. However, previous studies question if a constant efficiency is appropriate, in particular when evaluating carbon (C) cycling across temperatures and various substrates. In the present study, we evaluated the relation between substrate use efficiency, microbial community composition and substrate complexity in contrasting long-term management regimes (47–49 years of either arable, ley farming, grassland, or forest systems). Microbial community composition was assessed by phospholipid fatty acid analysis and three indices of substrate use efficiencies were considered: (i) thermodynamic efficiency, (ii) calorespirometric ratio, and (iii) metabolic quotient. Three substrates, d-glucose, l-alanine, or glycogen, varying in complexity, were added separately to soils, and heat production as well as C mineralization was determined over a 32-h incubation period at 12.5 °C. Microbial communities from forest systems were most efficient in utilizing substrates, supporting our hypothesis that maturing ecosystems become more efficient. These changes in efficiency were linked to microbial community composition with fungi and Gram-negative bacteria being important biomarkers. Despite our initial hypothesis, complex substrate such as glycogen was utilized most efficiently. Our findings emphasize that differences in land use management systems as well as the composition of soil organic matter need to be considered when modelling C dynamics in soils. Further research is required to establish and evaluate appropriate proxies for substrate use efficiencies in various ecosystems.</p>},
  author       = {Bölscher, Tobias and Wadsö, Lars and Börjesson, Gunnar and Herrmann, Anke M.},
  issn         = {0178-2762},
  keyword      = {Isothermal calorimetry,Land use,Microbial carbon use efficiency,Microbial community,Substrate complexity},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {05},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {547--559},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Biology and Fertility of Soils},
  title        = {Differences in substrate use efficiency : impacts of microbial community composition, land use management, and substrate complexity},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00374-016-1097-5},
  volume       = {52},
  year         = {2016},
}