Plants with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi efficiently acquire Nitrogen from substrate additions by shaping the decomposer community composition and their net plant carbon demand

Somak Chowdhury, Markus Lange, Ashish A. Malik, Timothy Goodall, Jianbei Huang, Robert I. Griffiths, Gerd Gleixner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims: We investigated the role of plants and their plant-derived carbon in shaping the microbial community that decomposes substrates and traced the return of nutrients from decomposition back to plant shoots in order to understand the importance of plants for ecosystem element cycling. Methods: We performed a greenhouse experiment having plant communities with and without arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and ingrowth cores that held different 15N labeled substrates. We determined the microbial community structure using molecular sequencing and the net assimilation of plant carbon into soil microorganisms using a 13CO2 pulse and 13C measurements of microbial biomarkers. We determined the return of nitrogen back to the shoots using the 15N signal, which was provided from the decomposition of the substrate added to the ingrowth cores. Results: We observed that the microbial community composition in the ingrowth cores and their net 13C assimilation depended on the presence of AMF and the added substrate. Both plant communities had similar 15N uptake into their shoots, but the net N uptake cost was significantly lower in presence of AMF. In the presence of AMF also lower net N uptake cost was observed for the decomposition of plant-derived and microorganism-derived substrates compared to inorganic nitrogen suggesting that AMF actively controls the decomposer comunity and their carbon demand. Conclusion: Our results identify for the first time a functional overlap of soil microorganisms as identical substrate is decomposed by different microorganisms suggesting functional redundancy of microbial communities. In consequence a better understanding of ecosystem element cycling can only be achieved when the whole plant-microorganism-organic matter-soil continuum is investigated.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant and Soil
Early online date28 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • 13C
  • 15N
  • 16S rRNA Gene
  • Functional redundancy
  • Ingrowth core
  • ITS
  • PLFA
  • Pulse labeling

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