Linking soluble C to microbial community composition and dynamics during decomposition of ¹³C-labeled ryegrass Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/j96023339

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  • Ryegrass residue consists of three main C fractions: readily available soluble C, intermediately available cellulose and hemicellulose, and slowly available lignin. Changes in chemical composition during decomposition influence rate of degradation as well as composition of the microbial community involved. Use of ¹³C-labeled plant material coupled with analysis of phospholipid fatty acids (PLEA) by isotope ratio mass spectrometry results in a powerful tool for linking microbial community structure and C cycling processes during decomposition. The objective was to investigate the role of soluble C in the decomposition of ryegrass straw. We wanted to determine (i) if the presence or absence of labile C in straw affects C mineralization by the microbial community, (ii) if community structure would differ based on the presence of labile C, and (iii) if community structure would shift as decomposition progressed. Residue was added to soil microcosms at rates that reflect field loads. Treatments were unleached straw (US), leached straw (LS), and leachate (L), plus an unamended control (C). Added substrates had δ¹³C values between 120% and 180% the native soil signature was 26%. Respiration was measured every 4 to 6 hours for the first 5 d, and weekly thereafter. Destructive sampling took place after 0.6, 1 .6, 1 5, 1 8. 50, and 80 d of incubation and microbial biomass '³C (MBC) and PLFAs were analyzed. The soluble component of ryegrass straw strongly influenced C mineralization and assimilation, as well as microbial community composition and dynamics. CO2 evolution rates and ¹³C signatures were similar in US and L during the first 3 d of incubation. Most soluble C from leachate was consumed during that time, indicated by the rapid decrease in δ¹³C value of CO2 evolved from L treatment. Substrate-derived C moved quickly into and through the microbial biomass. Distinct temporal shifts occurred in community composition. Early communities in amended soils were dominated by short and branched-chain PLFAs such as 15:Oa. Later samples contained more complex and longer PLFAs. 19:Ocy was an indicator for late succession communities in US and L, and 18:2w6,9 characterized late samples in LS. Soluble C affected when the temporal shift occurred in LS and L, communities shifted earlier than in US. Lipids were differentially enriched with ¹³C. Fungi, as indicated by 18:2w6,9, were more effective at incorporating substrate C into cellular lipids, as this was the most highly labeled of all PLFAs.
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