Project title: The importance of priming effects for sequestration and decomposition of soil organic matter
Plants allocate 20-30 % of recently photosynthesized carbon below ground, supporting the growth and activity of roots, mycorrhizal fungi, and rhizosphere microbial communities. Roots exudes part of this carbon in the form of sugars and other labile compounds. Recent evidence suggests that these exudates can cause a massive stimulation of soil organic matter decomposition, a phenomenon referred to as “priming”. The objective of my project is to determine the microbial functional groups and underlying molecular mechanism(s) in rhizosphere priming effects and also to determine the effect of variations in carbon and nutrient availability in the degree of priming and implications for microbial and plant available nutrients.