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Litter quality as driving factor for plant nutrition via grazing of protozoa on soil microorganisms

Abstract : Plant residues provide a major source of nitrogen (N) for plant growth. Litter N mineralization varies with litter carbon-to-nitrogen (C-to-N) ratio and presence of bacterial-feeding fauna. We assessed the effect of amoebae, major bacterial feeders in soil, on mineralization of litter of low (high quality) and high C-to-N ratio (low quality) and evaluated consequences for plant growth. We used stable isotopes to determine plant N uptake from litter and plant C partitioning. Stable isotope probing of phospholipid fatty acids was used to follow incorporation of plant C into microorganisms. Amoebae increased plant N uptake independent of litter quality and thereby the biomass of shoots and roots by 33% and 66%, respectively. Plant allocation of total C-13 to roots in low (42%) exceeded that of high-quality litter treatments (26%). Amoebae increased plant allocation of C-13 to roots by 37%. Microbial community structure and incorporation of C-13 into PLFAs varied significantly with litter quality and in the low-quality litter treatment also with the presence of amoebae. Overall, the results suggest that in particular at low nutrient conditions, root-derived C fosters the mobilization of bacterial N by protozoa, thereby increasing plant growth when microorganisms and plants compete for nutrients.
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https://hal.univ-lorraine.fr/hal-01474773
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Submitted on : Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 10:44:38 AM
Last modification on : Friday, February 12, 2021 - 2:26:06 PM

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Robert Koller, Christophe Robin, Michael Bonkowski, Liliane Ruess, Stefan Scheu. Litter quality as driving factor for plant nutrition via grazing of protozoa on soil microorganisms. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Wiley-Blackwell, 2013, 85 (2), pp.241-250. ⟨10.1111/1574-6941.12113⟩. ⟨hal-01474773⟩

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