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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Fungal community composition and metabolism under elevated CO(2) and O(3).

Atmospheric CO(2) and O(3) concentrations are increasing due to human activity and both trace gases have the potential to alter C cycling in forest ecosystems. Because soil microorganisms depend on plant litter as a source of energy for metabolism, changes in the amount or the biochemistry of plant litter produced under elevated CO(2) and O(3) could alter microbial community function and composition. Previously, we have observed that elevated CO(2) increased the microbial metabolism of cellulose and chitin, whereas elevated O(3) dampened this response. We hypothesized that this change in metabolism under CO(2) and O(3) enrichment would be accompanied by a concomitant change in fungal community composition. We tested our hypothesis at the free-air CO(2) and O(3) enrichment (FACE) experiment at Rhinelander, Wisconsin, in which Populus tremuloides, Betula papyrifera, and Acer saccharum were grown under factorial CO(2) and O(3) treatments. We employed extracellular enzyme analysis to assay microbial metabolism, phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis to determine changes in microbial community composition, and polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) to analyze the fungal community composition. The activities of 1,4-beta-glucosidase (+37%) and 1,4,-beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase (+84%) were significantly increased under elevated CO(2), whereas 1,4-beta-glucosidase activity (-25%) was significantly suppressed by elevated O(3). There was no significant main effect of elevated CO(2) or O(3) on fungal relative abundance, as measured by PLFA. We identified 39 fungal taxonomic units from soil using DGGE, and found that O(3) enrichment significantly altered fungal community composition. We conclude that fungal metabolism is altered under elevated CO(2) and O(3), and that there was a concomitant change in fungal community composition under elevated O(3). Thus, changes in plant inputs to soil under elevated CO(2) and O(3) can propagate through the microbial food web to alter the cycling of C in soil.[1]


  1. Fungal community composition and metabolism under elevated CO(2) and O(3). Chung, H., Zak, D.R., Lilleskov, E.A. Oecologia (2006) [Pubmed]
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