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Summer drought effects upon soil and litter extracellular phenol oxidase activity and soluble carbon release in an upland Calluna heathland

Toberman, Hannah; Evans, Chris D.; Freeman, Christopher; Fenner, Nathalie; White, Marie; Emmett, Bridget A.; Artz, Rebekka R.E.. 2008 Summer drought effects upon soil and litter extracellular phenol oxidase activity and soluble carbon release in an upland Calluna heathland. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 40 (6). 1519-1532. 10.1016/j.soilbio.2008.01.004

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Abstract/Summary

Extracellular phenol oxidases play an important role in the soil carbon cycle. The effects of a field-scale summer drought manipulation on extracellular litter and soil phenol oxidase activity, soluble phenolic compounds and dissolved organic carbon concentrations were examined for an upland Calluna heathland on a peaty podsol in North Wales. Litter and organic soil phenol oxidase activity was found to be positively correlated with moisture content. Thus in shallow organic soils, which are sensitive to drying during periods of low rainfall, drought may inhibit soil phenol oxidase activity as a result of water limitations. The release of soluble phenolic compounds and DOC from the droughted plots was found to be lowered during the drought period and elevated outside of the drought period. It is hypothesized that these changes may be a result of the reduced ability of extracellular phenol oxidases to process recalcitrant polyphenolic material under drought conditions. A drying incubation carried out with litter and soil cores from the same site suggests that extracellular phenol oxidase activity displays an optimal moisture level. This reconciled the observed water limitation of phenol oxidase activity at the heathland experimental site with previously observed stimulation of phenol oxidase activity by water table drawdown in deeper peats.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.soilbio.2008.01.004
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry
CEH Sections: Emmett
ISSN: 0038-0717
Additional Keywords: Phenol oxidase, Extracellular enzyme, Drought, Heathland, DOC, Phenolic degradation, Carbon cycling
NORA Subject Terms: Biology and Microbiology
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 06 Jun 2008 11:49
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/3190

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