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Carbon and Nitrogen Amendments Lead to Differential Growth of Bacterial and Fungal Communities in a High-pH Soil

  • Pramod N. KAMBLE
  • Erland BÅÅTH
Publishing year: 2018-04-01
Language: English
Pages: 255-260
Publication/Series: Pedosphere
Volume: 28
Issue: 2
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Institute of Soil Science

Abstract english

Microbial growth in soil is mostly limited by lack of carbon (C). However, adding fresh, C-rich litter can induce nitrogen (N) limitation. We studied the effect of alleviating C and N limitation in high-pH (> 8) soils, soils expected to favor bacterial over fungal growth. Nitrogen limitation was induced by incubating soils amended with C-rich substrate (starch or straw) for 4 weeks. Limiting nutrients and the effects of alleviating limitation were then studied by adding C (as glucose) or N (as NH4NO3) and measuring microbial growth and respiration after 4 d. In non-amended, C-limited soils, adding C but not N increased both microbial respiration and bacterial growth. In N-limited, substrate-amended soils, adding C increased respiration, whereas adding N increased both microbial respiration and growth. Inducing N limitation by amending with straw was most easily detected in increased fungal growth after the addition of N, whereas with starch, only bacterial growth responded to alleviating N limitation. Compared to earlier results using a low-pH soil, the effect of substrate used to induce N limitation was more important than pH for inducing bacterial or fungal growth after alleviating N limitation. Furthermore, we found no evidence that alleviating N limitation resulted in decreased respiration concomitant with increased microbial growth in soil, suggesting no drastic changes in C use efficiency.


  • Microbiology
  • acetate incorporation into ergosterol
  • carbon use efficiency
  • leucine incorporation
  • limiting nutrient
  • microbial growth
  • microbial respiration
  • N limitation


  • Microbial Ecology
  • ISSN: 1002-0160
Erland Bååth
E-mail: erland [dot] baath [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor emeritus


+46 46 222 42 64


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