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Effect of nitrogen and carbon supply on the development of soil organism populations and pine seedlings - microcosm experiment

  • Erland Bååth
  • U. Lohm
  • B. Lundgren
  • T. Rosswall
  • Bengt Söderström
  • B. Sohlenius
  • A. Wiren
Publishing year: 1978
Language: English
Pages: 153-163
Publication/Series: Oikos
Volume: 31
Issue: 2
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

Series of pots containing Scots pine seedlings and a humus-sand mixture were watered twice weekly for 398 d with different nutrient solutions (control treatment with complete plant nutrient solution less nitrogen; glucose addition; nitrogen addition; glucose and nitrogen addition). Analyses were made of organic and nitrogen contents in the substrate, plant weights and nitrogen contents, nitrogen fixation and respiration rates, abundance, biomass and in some cases species composition of different soil organism populations.

The growth rate of pine seedlings was lowest in series supplied with glucose, which is most easily explained by a deficiency of nitrogen due to microbial immobilization. The fungi and yeast were stimulated by addition of an easily available carbon source whereas the bacteria needed both nitrogen and carbon to maintain high biomass. A positive correlation between fungal feeding soil organisms and amount of fungal mycelium was found while a more complex situation prevailed with regard to bacterial numbers and bacterial feeding nematodes. The systems are evaluated in relation to the different treatments and compared with the field situation.


  • Biological Sciences


  • Microbial Ecology
  • ISSN: 1600-0706
Erland Bååth
E-mail: erland [dot] baath [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor emeritus


+46 46 222 42 64


Sölvegatan 37, Lund