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Bacterial and fungal colonization and decomposition of submerged plant litter: consequences for biogenic silica dissolution.

  • Hanna Alfredsson
  • Wim Clymans
  • Johanna Stadmark
  • Daniel Conley
  • Johannes Rousk
Publishing year: 2016-01-19
Language: English
Publication/Series: FEMS microbiology ecology
Volume: 92
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

We studied bacterial and fungal colonization of submerged plant litter, using a known Si-accumulator (Equisetum arvense), in experimental microcosms during one month. We specifically addressed the microbial decomposer role concerning biogenic silica (bSiO2) dissolution from the degrading litter. To vary the rates and level of microbial colonization, the litter was combined with a range of mineral nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P) supplements. Overall microbial growth on plant litter increased with higher levels of N and P. There was a tendency for higher bacterial than fungal stimulation with higher nutrient levels. Differences in microbial colonization of litter between treatments allowed us to test how Si remineralization from plants was influenced by microbial litter decomposition. Contrary to previous results and expectations, we observed a general reduction in Si release from plant litter colonized by a microbial community, compared with sterile control treatments. This suggested that microbial growth resulted in a reduction in dissolved Si concentrations, and we discuss candidate mechanisms to explain this outcome. Hence, our results imply that the microbial role in plant litter associated Si turnover is different from that commonly assumed based on bSiO2 dissolution studies in aquatic ecosystems.


  • Geochemistry
  • Microbiology


  • Microbial carbon-use efficiency
  • Effect of environmental factors on fungal and bacterial growth in soil
  • Interaction between fungi and bacteria in soil
  • ISSN: 1574-6941
JR photo
E-mail: johannes [dot] rousk [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

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