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Year: 2010  |  Volume: 20  |  Issue: 4  |  Page No.: 427 - 435

Microbial Activity in a Temperate Forest Soil as Affected by Elevated Atmospheric CO2

Jun-Qiang Zheng, Shi-Jie Han, Yu-Mei Zhou, Fei-Rong Ren, Li-Hua Xin and Yan Zhang    

Abstract: Microorganisms play a key role in the response of soil ecosystems to the rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) as they mineralize organic matter and drive nutrient cycling. To assess the effects of elevated CO2 on soil microbial C and N immobilization and on soil enzyme activities, in years 8 (2006) and 9 (2007) of an open-top chamber experiment that begun in spring of 1999, soil was sampled in summer, and microbial biomass and enzyme activity related to the carbon(C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) cycling were measured. Although no effects on microbial biomass C were detected, changes in microbial biomass N and metabolic activity involving C, N and P were observed under elevated CO2. Invertase and dehydrogenase activities were significantly enhanced by different degrees of elevated CO2. Nitrifying enzyme activity was significantly (P < 0.01) increased in the August 2006 samples that received the elevated CO2 treatment, as compared to the samples that received the ambient treatment. Denitrifying enzyme activity was significantly (P < 0.04) decreased by elevated CO2 treatments in the August 2006 and June 2007 (P < 0.09) samples. β-N-acetylglucosaminidase activity was increased under elevated CO2 by 7% and 25% in June and August 2006, respectively, compared to those under ambient CO2. The results of June 2006 samples showed that acid phosphatase activity was significantly enhanced under elevated CO2. Overall, these results suggested that elevated CO2 might cause changes in the belowground C, N and P cycling in temperate forest soils.

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