Rhizosphere carbon supply accelerates soil organic matter decomposition in the presence of fresh organic substrates

Jackson, Oyindamola; Quilliam, Richard S.; Stott, Andy; Grant, Helen; Subke, Jens-Arne. 2019 Rhizosphere carbon supply accelerates soil organic matter decomposition in the presence of fresh organic substrates. Plant and Soil, 440 (1-2). 473-490.

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Background and aims: Belowground C supply from plant roots may accelerate the decomposition of SOM through the rhizosphere priming effect, but the detailed interaction between substrate quality and rhizosphere C supply is poorly understood. We hypothesize that decomposition of organic matter is enhanced by the combined effect of assimilate C supply to the rhizosphere and substrate amendments. Methods: Birch trees (Betula pendula) planted in experimental mesocosms; half of these trees were shaded to reduce the supply of assimilate C to roots and ECM fungi. Either 13C-enriched glucose, straw, fungal necromass or C4 biochar were subsequently added to each mesocosm. CO2 efflux derived from substrates were separated from that derived from native SOM and roots based on the isotopic composition of total respired CO2. Results: The addition of all substrates increased fluxes in both un-shaded and shaded treatments, with greatest total CO2 efflux observed in soils amended with straw. Increases in un-labelled CO2 were observed to be greater in the presence of belowground C supply than in mesocosms with shaded trees. Conclusions: Turnover of SOM is closely linked to belowground C allocation. The biochemical quality and recalcitrance of litter entering the soil C pool is of critical importance to this priming, as is the interaction with rhizosphere-associated decomposition activity.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0032-079X
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: soil CO2 efflux, ectomycorrhizal fungi, priming effect, soil microbial activity, stable C isotopes
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 19 Jul 2019 10:24 +0 (UTC)

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