Temporal patterns of carbon flow from grassland vegetation to soil microorganisms measured using 13C-labelling and signature fatty acids

Johanna Birgander, Pål Axel Olsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: We investigated how the C flow from plants to microorganisms varies throughout the year in a temperate grassland. Additionally, we investigated how the C flow relates to saprotrophic activity and vegetation changes. Methods: In situ stable isotope pulse labelling (13CO2) was employed to estimate the flow of recently plant-derived C to soil microorganisms by using signature fatty acids. Bacterial and fungal growth was estimated using radio-labelling in laboratory incubations. Results: The C flow from plants to arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi peaked during the warmer parts of the year, but saprotrophic microorganisms showed little temporal variation in C flow. Also saprotrophic fungi received considerable amounts of C from plants throughout the year. Bacterial and fungal growth showed temporal variation with a growth peak in August for both. This suggests a shift in the C source from mainly rhizosphere C in colder parts of the year, to older C-sources in warmer parts of the year (August). Conclusion: We conclude that AM fungi, saprotrophic fungi and bacteria differ in the amount of recently-fixed C they receive from plants throughout the year. Hence, temporal patterns need to be considered to understand ecosystem functioning. The studied plant community included winter annuals, which potentially maintain a high C flow to saprotrophic fungi during the cold season.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245–255
Number of pages11
JournalPlant and Soil
Volume462
Issue number1-2
Early online date2021 Feb 8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Soil Science
  • Microbiology

Keywords

  • Arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM)
  • Fatty acids
  • PLFA, C
  • Rhizosphere
  • Season
  • Temporal patterns

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