Influence of repeated prescribed burning on incorporation of C-13 from cellulose by forest soil fungi as determined by RNA stable isotope probing

Brigitte A. Bastias, Ian C. Anderson, J. Ignacio Rangel-Castro, Pamela I. Parkin, James I. Prosser, John W. G. Cairney

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Repeated prescribed burning is frequently used as a forest management tool and can influence soil microbial diversity and activity. Soil fungi play key roles in carbon and nutrient cycling processes and soil fungal community structure has been shown to alter with increasing burning frequency. Such changes are accompanied by changes to soil carbon and nitrogen pools, however, we know little regarding how repeated prescribed burning alters functional diversity in soil fungal communities. We amended soil with C-13-cellulose and used RNA stable isotope probing to investigate the effect of biennial repeated prescribed burning over a 34-year period on cellulolytic soil fungi. Results indicated that repeated burning altered fungal community structure. Moreover, fungal community structure and diversity in C-12 and C-13 fractions from the unburned soil were not significantly different from each other, while those from the biennial burned soils differed from each other. The data indicate that fewer active fungi in the biennially burned soil incorporated C-13 from the labelled cellulose and that repeated prescribed burning had a significant impact on the diversity of an important functional group of soil fungi (cellulolytic fungi) that are key drivers of forest soil decomposition and carbon cycling processes. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-472
Number of pages6
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Issue number3
Early online date16 Dec 2008
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


  • stable isotope probing
  • repeated prescribed burning
  • denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis
  • internal transcribed spacer
  • forest soil fungi
  • ribosomal-RNA
  • sclerophyll forest
  • community
  • microrganisms
  • identfication
  • diversity
  • fire
  • DNA
  • populations
  • gradient

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