Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 69–74

Enzymic analysis of microbial pattern and process

  • R. S. Sinsabaugh
Original Paper

Abstract

Enzyme assays, once used primarily to collect descriptive information about soils, have become useful techniques for monitoring microbial activity and uncovering the mechanisms that underlie microbial processes. The simplest paradigm is that decomposition and nutrient cycling are emergent consequences of extracellular enzyme activities that are regulated directly by site-specific factors such as temperature, moisture and nutrient availability, and secondarily by litter chemistry through adsorption, inhibition and stabilization processes. In application, enzyme techniques are employed on three scales of resolution. On the largest scale, assays for ubiquitous enzymes such as phosphatase, esterase, and dehydrogenase are used as general measures of microbial activity. At higher resolution, enzyme specificity is exploited to monitor activity related to specific aspects of macronutrient cycling. At the highest resolution, the enzymatic mechanisms by which microorganisms interact with their environment are addressed.

Key words

Enzymes Microbial activity Decomposition Nutrient cycling 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Atlas RM (1986) Applicability of general ecological principles to microbial ecology. In: Poindexter JS, Leadbetter ER (eds) Bacteria in nature. Plenum Press, New York, pp 339–370Google Scholar
  2. Batistic L, Sarkar JM, Mayaudon J (1980) Extraction, purification, and properties of soil hydrolases. Soil Biol Biochem 12:59–63Google Scholar
  3. Berman T (1988) Differential uptake of orthophosphate and organic phosphorus substrates by bacteria and algae in Lake Kinneret. J Plankton Res 10:1239–1249Google Scholar
  4. Billen G (1991) Protein degradation in aquatic environments. In: Chróst RJ (ed) Microbial enzymes in aquatic environments. Springer, New York Berlin Heidelberg, pp 123–143Google Scholar
  5. Blenkinsopp SA, Costerton JW (1991) Understanding bacterial biofilms. Trends Biotechnol 9:138–143Google Scholar
  6. Bonmati M, Ceccanti B, Nanniperi P (1991) Spatial variability of phosphatase, urease, protease, organic carbon and total nitrogen in soil. Soil Biol Biochem 23:391–396Google Scholar
  7. Boyd SA, Mortland MM (1990) Enzyme interactions with clays and clay-organic matter complexes. In: Bollag J-M, Stotzky G (eds) Soil biochemistry, vol. 6. Marcel Dekker, New York, pp 1–28Google Scholar
  8. Bremner JM, Mulyaney RL (1978) Urease activity in soils. In: Burns RG (ed) Soil enzymes. Academic Press, New York, pp 149–197Google Scholar
  9. Burns RG (1983) Extracellular enzyme-substrate interactions in soil. In: Slater JN, Whittenbury R, Wimpenny JWT (eds) Microbes in their natural environments. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 249–298Google Scholar
  10. Chróst RJ (1991) Environmental control of the synthesis and activity of aquatic microbial ectoenzymes. In: Chróst RJ (ed) Microbial enzmyes in aquatic environments. Springer, New York Berlin Heidelberg, pp 29–59Google Scholar
  11. Costerton JW, Cheng KJ, Geesey GG, Ladd TI, Nickel JC, Dasgupta M, Marie TJ (1987) Bacterial biofilms in nature and disease. Annu Rev Microbiol 41:435–464Google Scholar
  12. Cotner JB, Wetzel RG (1991) Bacterial phosphatases from different habitats in a small, hardwater lake. In: Chróst RJ (ed) Microbial enzymes in aquatic environments. Springer, New York Berlin Heidelberg, pp 187–205Google Scholar
  13. Dekker RFH (1985) Biodegradation of hemicelluloses. In: Higuchi T (ed) Biosynthesis and biodegradation of wood components. Academic Press, New York, pp 505–533Google Scholar
  14. Dighton J, Boddy L (1989) Role of fungi in nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur cycling in temperate forest ecosystems. In: Boddy L, Marchant R, Read D (eds) Nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur utilization by fungi. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 269–298Google Scholar
  15. Drotar A, Burton GA, Tavernier JE, Fall R (1987) Widespread occurrence of bacterial thiol methyltransferases and the biogenic emission of methylated sulfur gasesGoogle Scholar
  16. Eivazi F, Tabatabai MA (1988) Glucosidases and galactosidases in soils. Soil Biol Biochem 20:601–606Google Scholar
  17. Eriksson K-E, Wood TM (1985) Biodegradation of cellulose. In: Higuchi T (ed) Biosynthesis and biodegradation of wood components. Academic Press, New York, pp 469–503Google Scholar
  18. Frankenberger WT, Dick WA (1983) Relationships between enzyme activities and microbial growth and activity indices in soil. Soil Sci Soc America J 47:945–951Google Scholar
  19. Gage MA, Gorham E (1985) Alkaline phosphatase activity and cellular phosphorus as an index of the phosphorus status of phytoplankton in Minnesota lakes. Freshw Biol 15:227–233Google Scholar
  20. Ganeshamurthy AN, Nielsen NE (1990) Arylsulphatase activity and the biochemical mineralization of soil organic sulphur. Soil Biol Biochem 22:1163–1165Google Scholar
  21. Hale DD, Fitzgerald JW (1990) Generation of sulphate from cysteine in forest soil and litter. Soil Biol Biochem 22:427–429Google Scholar
  22. Hamilton WA (1987) Biofilms: microbial interactions and metabolic activities. In: Fletcher M, Gray TRG, Jones JG (eds) Ecology of microbial communities. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 361–385Google Scholar
  23. Häussling M, Marschner H (1989) Organic and inorganic soil phosphates and acid phosphatase activity in rhizosphere of 80-year-old Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst.] trees. Biol Fertil Soils 8:128–133Google Scholar
  24. Insam H (1990) Are the soil microbial biomass and basal respiration governed by the climatic regime? Soil Biol Biochem 22:525–532Google Scholar
  25. Insam H, Parkinson D, Domsch KH (1989) Influence of macroclimate on soil microbial biomass. Soil Biol Biochem 21:211–221Google Scholar
  26. Jones SE, Lock MA (1989) Hydrolytic extracellular enzyme activity in heterotrophic biofilms from two contrasting streams. Freshw Biol 22:289–296Google Scholar
  27. Kirk TK, Farrell RL (1987) Enzymatic “combustion”: the microbial degradation of lignin. Annu Rev Microbiol 41:465–505Google Scholar
  28. Ladd JN (1972) Properties of proteolytic enzymes extracted from soil. Soil Biol Biochem 4:227–237Google Scholar
  29. Ljungdahl LG, Eriksson K-E (1985) Ecology of microbial cellulose degradation. Adv Microb Ecol 8:237–299Google Scholar
  30. Lock MA, Wallace RR, Costerton JW, Ventullo RM, Charlton SE (1984) River epilithon: toward a structural and functional model. Oikos 42:10–22Google Scholar
  31. Loosdrecht MCM van, Lyklema J, Norde W, Zehnder JB (1990) Influence of interfaces on microbial activity. Microbiol Rev 54:75–87Google Scholar
  32. Marsden WL, Gray PP (1986) Enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose in lignocellulosic materials. CRC Crit Rev Biotechnol 3:235–276Google Scholar
  33. Mayer LM (1989) Extracellular proteolytic enzyme activity in sediments of an intertidal mudflat. Limnol Oceanogr 34:973–981Google Scholar
  34. McClaugherty CA, Linkins AE (1990) Temperature response of extracellular enzymes in two forest soils. Soil Biol Biochem 22:29–34Google Scholar
  35. Nannipieri P, Ceccanti B, Bianchi D (1988) Characterization of humus-phosphatase complexes extracted from soil. Soil Biol Biochem 20:683–691Google Scholar
  36. Nannipieri P, Johnson RL, Paul EA (1978) Criteria for measurement of microbial growth and activity in soil. Soil Biol Biochem 10:223–229Google Scholar
  37. Nannipieri P, Muccini L, Ciardi C (1983) Microbial biomass and enzyme activities: production and persistence. Soil Biol Biochem 15:679–685Google Scholar
  38. Pettit NM, Gregory LJ, Freedman RB, Burns RG (1977) Differential stabilities of soil enzymes assay and properties of phosphatase and arylsulfatase. Biochim Biophys Acta 485:357–366Google Scholar
  39. Pettit NM, Smith ARJ, Freedman RB, Burns RG (1976) Soil urease: activity, stability, and kinetic properties. Soil Biol Biochem 8:479–484Google Scholar
  40. Price NM, Morel FMM (1990) Role of extracellular enzymatic reactions in natural waters. In: Stumm W (ed) Aquatic chemical kinetics. Wiley, New York, pp 235–258Google Scholar
  41. Rojo MJ, Carcedo SG, Mateos MP (1990) Distribution and characterization of phosphatase and organic phosphorus in soil fractions. Soil Biol Biochem 22:169–174Google Scholar
  42. Ruggeiro P, Radogna VM (1988) Humic acids-tyrosinase interactions as a model of soil humic-enzyme complexes. Soil Biol Biochem 20:353–359Google Scholar
  43. Saddler JN (1986) Factors limiting the efficiency of cellulase enzymes. Microbiol Sci 3:84–87Google Scholar
  44. Sarkar JM, Burns RG (1984) Synthesis and properties of B-d-glucosidase-phenolic copolymers as analogues of soil humicenzyme complexes. Soil Biol Biochem 16:619–625Google Scholar
  45. Sarkar JM, Leonowicz A, Bollag J-M (1989) Immobilization of enzymes on clays and soils. Soil Biol Biochem 21:223–230Google Scholar
  46. Shapiro JA (1991) Multicellular behavior of bacteria. ASM News 57:247–253Google Scholar
  47. Sikora LJ, Kaufman DD, Horng LC (1990) Enzyme activity in soils showing enhanced degradation of organophosphate insecticides. Biol Fertil Soils 9:14–18Google Scholar
  48. Sinsabaugh RL (1989) Natural disturbance and the activity of Trichoderma viride cellulase complexes. Soil Biol Biochem 21:835–839Google Scholar
  49. Sinsabaugh RL, Antibus RK, Linkins AE (1991a) An enzymic approach to the analysis of microbial activity during plant litter decomposition. Agric Ecosyst Environ 34:43–54Google Scholar
  50. Sinsabaugh RL, Antibus RK, Linkins AE, McClaugherty CA, Rayburn L, Repert D, Weiland T (1992a) Wood decomposition over a first order watershed: mass loss as a function of exoenzyme activity. Soil Biol Biochem 24:743–749Google Scholar
  51. Sinsabaugh RL, Antibus RK, Linkins AE, McClaugherty CA, Rayburn L, Repert D, Weiland T (1992b) Wood decomposition over a first-order watershed: nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics in relation to extracellular enzyme activities. Ecology 74:1586–1593Google Scholar
  52. Sinsabaugh RL, Golladay SW, Linkins AE (1991b) Comparison of epilithic and epixylic biofilm development in a boreal river. Freshw Biol 25:179–187Google Scholar
  53. Sinsabaugh RL, Weiland T, Linkins AE (1991c) Epilithon patch structure in a boreal river. J North Am Benthol Soc 10:419–429Google Scholar
  54. Siuda W (1984) Phosphatases and their role in organic phosphorus transformation in natural waters. A review. Polsk Arch Hydrobiol 31:207–233Google Scholar
  55. Skujiņŝ J (1978) History of abiontic soil enzyme research. In: Burns RG (ed) Soil enzymes. Academic Press, New York, pp 1–50Google Scholar
  56. Stewart AJ, Wetzel RG (1982) Influence of dissolved humic materials on carbon assimilation and alkaline phosphatase activity in natural algal-bacterial assemblages. Freshw Biol 12:369–380Google Scholar
  57. Tarafdar JC, Jungk A (1987) Phosphatase activity in the rhizosphere and its relation to the depletion of soil organic phosphorus. Biol Fertil Soils 3:199–204Google Scholar
  58. Wetzel RG (1981) Longterm dissolved and particular alkaline phosphatase activity in a hardwater lake in relation to lake stability and phosphorus enrichments. Verh Int Verein Theoret Angew Limnol 21:337–349Google Scholar
  59. Wong KKY, Tan LUL, Saddler JN (1988) Multiplicity of B-1,4-xylanase in microorganisms: functions and applications. Microbiol Rev 52:305–317Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. S. Sinsabaugh
    • 1
  1. 1.Biology DepartmentClarkson UniversityPotsdamUSA

Personalised recommendations