, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 177-187

Enzymes and biogeochemical cycling in wetlands during a simulated drought

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Possible interactions between soil enzymes and thebiogeochemistry of wetlands were investigated duringa field-based drought simulation. Under control(waterlogged) conditions, correlations were foundbetween the activity of the enzyme B-glucosidase andtwo properties associated with carbon cycling, namelyi) CH4 release r = 0.79,p lt 0.01) and ii) dissolvedorganic carbon concentration (r= -0.81, p lt 0.01). In contrast,the transition to drought conditions resulted in correlations betweenB-glucosidase activity and certain mineralisationprocesses, namely the release of mg and Ca(r = 0.72, p lt 0.05). Sulphataseactivity correlated with changes in sulphate concentration during the droughtsimulation (r = 0.73, p lt 0.05).Further support for the suggested enzymic involvement in biogeochemicalprocesses was found in laboratory studies. Theseexperiments indicated that increasing the abundance ofB-glucosidase could stimulate trace gas emissions(p lt 0.001) and increase the concentration ofmagnesium and calcium (p lt 0.05). Increasedsulphatase abundance caused a suppression of methane emissions(p = 0.053).