Mycorrhizal Hyphal Turnover as a Dominant Process for Carbon Input into Soil Organic Matter Article Received: 05 September 2005 Accepted: 29 September 2005 DOI:
Cite this article as: Godbold, D.L., Hoosbeek, M.R., Lukac, M. et al. Plant Soil (2006) 281: 15. doi:10.1007/s11104-005-3701-6 Abstract
The atmospheric concentration of CO
2 is predicted to reach double current levels by 2075. Detritus from aboveground and belowground plant parts constitutes the primary source of C for soil organic matter (SOM), and accumulation of SOM in forests may provide a significant mechanism to mitigate increasing atmospheric CO 2 concentrations. In a poplar (three species) plantation exposed to ambient (380 ppm) and elevated (580 ppm) atmospheric CO 2 concentrations using a Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) system, the relative importance of leaf litter decomposition, fine root and fungal turnover for C incorporation into SOM was investigated. A technique using cores of soil in which a C 4 crop has been grown (δ 13C −18.1‰) inserted into the plantation and detritus from C 3 trees (δ 13C −27 to −30‰) was used to distinguish between old (native soil) and new (tree derived) soil C. In-growth cores using a fine mesh (39 μm) to prevent in-growth of roots, but allow in-growth of fungal hyphae were used to assess contribution of fine roots and the mycorrhizal external mycelium to soil C during a period of three growing seasons (1999–2001). Across all species and treatments, the mycorrhizal external mycelium was the dominant pathway (62%) through which carbon entered the SOM pool, exceeding the input via leaf litter and fine root turnover. The input via the mycorrhizal external mycelium was not influenced by elevated CO 2, but elevated atmospheric CO 2 enhanced soil C inputs via fine root turnover. The turnover of the mycorrhizal external mycelium may be a fundamental mechanism for the transfer of root-derived C to SOM. Keywords δ 13C abundance C sequestration EuroFACE mycorrhiza poplar SOM References Aber, J D, Melillo, J M, McClaugherty, C A 1990 Predicting long-term patterns of mass loss, nitrogen dynamics, and soil organic matter formation from initial fine litter chemistry in temperate forest ecosystems Can. J. Bot. 68 2201 2208 Google Scholar
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