Chronic nitrogen fertilization and carbon sequestration in grassland soils: evidence of a microbial enzyme link Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/articles/7s75dd99f

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  • Chronic nitrogen (N) fertilization can greatly affect soil carbon (C) sequestration by altering biochemical interactions between plant detritus and soil microbes. In lignin-rich forest soils, chronic N additions tend to increase soil C content partly by decreasing the activity of lignin-degrading enzymes. In cellulose-rich grassland soils it is not clear whether cellulose-degrading enzymes are also inhibited by N additions and what consequences this might have on changes in soil C content. Here we address whether chronic N fertilization has affected (1) the C content of light versus heavier soil fractions, and (2) the activity of four extracellular enzymes including the C-acquiring enzyme β-1,4-glucosidase (BG; necessary for cellulose hydrolysis). We found that 19 years of chronic N-only addition to permanent grassland have significantly increased soil C sequestration in heavy but not in light soil density fractions, and this C accrual was associated with a significant increase (and not decrease) of BG activity. Chronic N fertilization may increase BG activity because greater N availability reduces root C:N ratios thus increasing microbial demand for C, which is met by C inputs from enhanced root C pools in N-only fertilized soils. However, BG activity and total root mass strongly decreased in high pH soils under the application of lime (i.e. CaCO₃), which reduced the ability of these organo-mineral soils to gain more C per units of N added. Our study is the first to show a potential ‘enzyme link’ between (1) long-term additions of inorganic N to grassland soils, and (2) the greater C content of organo-mineral soil fractions. Our new hypothesis is that the ‘enzyme link’ occurs because (a) BG activity is stimulated by increased microbial C demand relative to N under chronic fertilization, and (b) increased BG activity causes more C from roots and from microbial metabolites to accumulate and stabilize into organo-mineral C fractions. We suggest that any combination of management practices that can influence the BG ‘enzyme link’ will have far reaching implications for long-term C sequestration in grassland soils.
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  • Cenini, V. L., Fornara, D. A., McMullan, G., Ternan, N., Lajtha, K., & Crawley, M. J. (2015). Chronic nitrogen fertilization and carbon sequestration in grassland soils: evidence of a microbial enzyme link. Biogeochemistry, 126(3), 301-313. doi:10.1007/s10533-015-0157-5
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2016-06-15T15:14:55Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 3 license_rdf: 1370 bytes, checksum: cd1af5ab51bcc7a5280cf305303530e9 (MD5) CeniniChronicNitrogenFertilization.pdf: 959358 bytes, checksum: efeb77684b4672eacb981476e5d47564 (MD5) CeniniChronicNitrogenFertilizationSupplement.pdf: 177065 bytes, checksum: a0a970d8510059405430ad3948935041 (MD5)
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  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2016-06-15T15:14:55Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 3 license_rdf: 1370 bytes, checksum: cd1af5ab51bcc7a5280cf305303530e9 (MD5) CeniniChronicNitrogenFertilization.pdf: 959358 bytes, checksum: efeb77684b4672eacb981476e5d47564 (MD5) CeniniChronicNitrogenFertilizationSupplement.pdf: 177065 bytes, checksum: a0a970d8510059405430ad3948935041 (MD5) Previous issue date: 2015-12

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