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Examining the fungal and bacterial niche overlap using selective inhibitors in soil.

  • Johannes Rousk
  • Louise Aldén
  • Adam Bahr
  • Erland Bååth
Publishing year: 2008
Language: English
Pages: 350-358
Publication/Series: FEMS microbiology ecology
Volume: 63
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

It is important to know the contributions of bacteria and fungi to decomposition in connection with both the structure of the food web and the functioning of the ecosystem. However, the extent of the competition between these groups of organisms is largely unknown. The bacterial influence on fungal growth in a soil system was studied by applying three different bacterial inhibitors - bronopol, tylosin and oxytetracycline - in a series of increasing concentrations, and comparing the resulting bacterial and fungal growth rates measured using leucine and acetate-in-ergosterol incorporation, respectively. Direct measurements of growth showed that fungi increased after adding inhibitors; the level of increase in fungal growth corresponded to that of the decrease in bacterial growth, irrespective of the bacterial inhibitor used. Similar antagonistic effects of the bacteria on fungal growth were also found after adding the bacterial inhibitors together with additional substrate (alfalfa or straw plant material). The resulting responses in bacterial and fungal growth indirectly indicated that the negative interaction between fungi and bacteria was mostly attributable to exploitation competition. The results of this study also emphasize the increased sensitivity of using growth-related, instead of biomass-based, measurements when studying bacterial and fungal interactions in soil.


  • Biological Sciences


  • Interaction between fungi and bacteria in soil
  • Effect of environmental factors on fungal and bacterial growth in soil
  • Microbial carbon-use efficiency
  • Microbial Ecology
  • ISSN: 1574-6941
Erland Bååth
E-mail: erland [dot] baath [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor emeritus


+46 46 222 42 64


Sölvegatan 37, Lund