, Volume 76, Issue 5, pp 557-562

The composition of the chitinolytic microbial complex and its effect on chitin decomposition at various humidity levels

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The dynamics of assimilation of chitin by soil microorganisms (primarily prokaryotes) as a source of carbon and nitrogen has been determined by gas chromatography and fluorescence microscopy. The highest rates of chitin decomposition in chernozem were detected at humidity levels corresponding to the pressure of soil moisture (P) of −1.4 atm. The rate of microbial consumption of chitin is three times higher than that of the carbon of soil organic matter. Fluorescence microscopy revealed that an increase in the pressure of soil moisture from P = −10 atm to P = −0.7 atm resulted in a considerable increase in the proportion of the specific surface of mycelial bacteria (actinomycetes).