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Drying-Rewetting Cycles Affect Fungal and Bacterial Growth Differently in an Arable Soil

  • Azadeh Bapiri
  • Erland Bååth
  • Johannes Rousk
Publishing year: 2010
Language: English
Pages: 419-428
Publication/Series: Microbial Ecology
Volume: 60
Issue: 2
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Springer

Abstract english

Drying and rewetting is a frequent physiological stress for soil microbial communities; a stress that is predicted to grow more influential with future climate change. We investigated the effect of repeated drying-rewetting cycles on bacterial (leucine incorporation) and fungal (acetate in ergosterol incorporation) growth, on the biomass concentration and composition (PLFA), and on the soil respiration. Using different plant material amendments, we generated soils with different initial fungal:bacterial compositions that we exposed to 6-10 repetitions of a drying-rewetting cycle. Drying-rewetting decreased bacterial growth while fungal growth remained unaffected, resulting in an elevated fungal:bacterial growth ratio. This effect was found irrespective of the initial fungal:bacterial biomass ratio. Many drying-rewetting cycles did not, however, affect the fungal:bacterial growth ratio compared to few cycles. The biomass response of the microbial community differed from the growth response, with fungal and total biomass only being slightly negatively affected by the repeated drying-rewetting. The discrepancy between growth- and biomass-based assessments underscores that microbial responses to perturbations might previously have been misrepresented with biomass-based assessments. In light of this, many aspects of environmental microbial ecology may need to be revisited with attention to what measure of the microbial community is relevant to study.


  • Biological Sciences


  • Interaction between fungi and bacteria in soil
  • Responses of soil microbes to drought and rewetting
  • Microbial carbon-use efficiency
  • Microbial Ecology
  • ISSN: 1432-184X
Erland Bååth
E-mail: erland [dot] baath [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor emeritus


+46 46 222 42 64


Sölvegatan 37, Lund