Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 81, Issue 1, pp 99–106

Effects of resource supplies on the structure and function of microbial communities

  • Val H. Smith

DOI: 10.1023/A:1020533727307

Cite this article as:
Smith, V.H. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek (2002) 81: 99. doi:10.1023/A:1020533727307


The supplies of nutrients, and their elemental stoichiometry, can have significant impacts upon the structure and function of microbial communities. This review focuses on the effects of nutrient supplies on the biodegradation of organic matter, and on the dynamics of host-pathogen interactions. Analyses of data from the literature suggest significant effects of nitrogen:phosphorus supply ratios on the microbial decomposition of organic matter, and it is argued that these stoichiometric effects may have important implications for the fate and fluxes of carbon in natural ecosystems. In addition, it is shown that the supplies of nitrogen and phosphorus to the host can strongly influence the outcome of infections in both terrestrial and aquatic plants, suggesting that resource availability and resource supply ratios potentially may have significant effects on the health of many plant communities.

carbon cyclingdecompositiondetritusdisease dynamicsecological stoichiometrynitrogenresource-ratio theoryphosphorusplants

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Val H. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA