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Denef, K.; Bubenheim, H.; Lenhart, K.; Vermeulen, J.; Cleemput, O.; Boeckx, P.; Müller, C. (2007)
Languages: English
Types: Article
The aim of this study was to identify the microbial communities that are actively involved in the assimilation of rhizosphere-C and are most sensitive in their activity to elevated atmospheric CO2 in a temperate semi-natural low-input grassland ecosystem. For this, we analyzed 13C signatures in microbial biomarker phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) from an in-situ 13CO2 pulse-labeling experiment in the Giessen Free Air Carbon dioxide Enrichment grasslands (GiFACE, Germany) exposed to ambient and elevated (i.e. 50% above ambient) CO2 concentrations. Short-term 13C PLFA measurements at 3 h and 10 h after the pulse-labeling revealed very little to no 13C enrichment after 3 h in biomarker PLFAs and a much greater incorporation of new plant-C into fungal compared to bacterial PLFAs after 10 h. After a period of 11 months following the pulse-labeling experiment, the 13C enrichment of fungal PLFAs was still largely present but had decreased, while bacterial PLFAs were much more enriched in 13C compared to a few hours after the pulse-labeling. These results imply that new rhizodeposit-C is rapidly processed by fungal communities and only much later by the bacterial communities, which we attributed to either a fungal-mediated translocation of rhizosphere-C from the fungal to bacterial biomass or a preferential bacterial use of dead root or fungal necromass materials as C source over the direct utilization of fresh root-exudate C in these N-limited grassland ecosystems. Elevated CO2 caused an increase in the proportional 13C enrichment (relative to the universal biomarker 16:0) of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal biomarker PLFA 16:1ω5 and one gram-positive bacterial biomarker PLFA i16:0, but a decrease in the proportional 13C enrichment of 18:1ω9c, a commonly used though questionable fungal biomarker PLFA. This suggests enhanced fungal rhizodeposit-C assimilation only by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal species under elevated CO2.

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