Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 54, Issue 6, pp 761–768 | Cite as

Drying and rewetting of forest floors: dynamics of soluble phosphorus, microbial biomass-phosphorus, and the composition of microbial communities

  • Mai-Van Dinh
  • Alexander Guhr
  • Alfons R. Weig
  • Egbert Matzner
Original Paper


Drying and rewetting (D/W) of soils often leads to a pulse of total dissolved phosphorus (TDP) by lysis of sensitive microorganisms. The relevance of D/W on the P cycle in ecosystems depends on the duration of the TDP release. In forest soils, the forest floor represents a hotspot of microbial activity and is often prone to D/W. Here, we investigated the dynamics of TDP, the microbial P pool (Pmic), and the composition of microbial communities after D/W. Samples were taken from Oi and Oe layers of a European beech and a Norway spruce site and desiccated up to − 100 MPa (pF 6) at 20 °C, while controls were kept moist. TDP and Pmic were measured 0, 1, 3, 7, and 14 days after rewetting and the composition of microbial communities was analyzed by automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis after 14 days. After D/W, the largest TDP net release (D/W-control) was from Oe layers with 40–50 mg P kg−1 and inorganic P as the dominant fraction. The TDP concentrations decreased strongly in Oi layers within 1 (beech) to 4 (spruce) days, while remaining stable in Oe layers. The TDP dynamics were linked to the decrease and recovery of Pmic after D/W. Pmic dynamics differed between layers and stand types, suggesting the influence of microbial communities with different D/W sensitivities. The composition of microbial communities varied strongly among sites and layers, while D/W only affected the composition of bacterial and fungal communities in the spruce Oe layer. D/W of forest floors increases the plant available P and affects the P cycle in forest ecosystems.


Drying–rewetting Inorganic dissolved phosphorus Soil microbial biomass Soil microbial communities Total dissolved phosphorus 



We would like to thank Uwe Hell for assistance with sample preparation, Karin Söllner for assistance in the laboratory. Thanks are also extended to the BayCEER Central Laboratory for Analytical Chemistry for chemical analyses of soil samples.

Funding information

This work was supported by a grant from the Vietnamese Government (Grant No. 192).

Supplementary material

374_2018_1300_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (27 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 26 kb)


  1. Achat DL, Augusto L, Gallet-Budynek A, Bakker MR (2012) Drying-induced changes in phosphorus status of soils with contrasting soil organic matter contents—implications for laboratory approaches. Geoderma 187-188:41–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aponte C, Marañón T, García LV (2010) Microbial C, N and P in soils of Mediterranean oak forests: influence of season, canopy cover and soil depth. Biogeochemistry 101:77–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bapiri A, Bååth E, Rousk J (2010) Drying-rewetting cycles affect fungal and bacterial growth differently in an arable soil. Microb Ecol 60:419–428CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Blackwell MSA, Brookes PC, de La F-MN, Murray PJ, Snars KE, Williams JK, Haygarth PM (2009) Effects of soil drying and rate of re-wetting on concentrations and forms of phosphorus in leachate. Biol Fertil Soils 45:635–643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blackwell M, Brookes PC, de la Fuente-Martinez N, Gordon H, Murray PJ, Snars KE, Williams JK, Bol R, Haygarth PM (2010) Phosphorus solubilization and potential transfer to surface waters from the soil microbial biomass following drying–rewetting and freezing–thawing. In: Sparks DL (Ed) Advances in agronomy. Elsevier Academic Press Inc, San Diego, pp 1–35Google Scholar
  6. Blackwell MSA, Carswell AM, Bol R (2013) Variations in concentrations of N and P forms in leachates from dried soils rewetted at different rates. Biol Fertil Soils 49:79–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bogner C, Wolf B, Schlather M, Huwe B (2008) Analysing flow patterns from dye tracer experiments in a forest soil using extreme value statistics. Eur J Soil Sci 59:103–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Borken W, Matzner E (2009) Reappraisal of drying and wetting effects on C and N mineralization and fluxes in soils. Glob Chang Biol 15:808–824CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bray RH, Kurtz LT (1945) Determination of total, organic, and available forms of phosphorus in soils. Soil Sci 59:39–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brookes PC, Powlson DS, Jenkinson DS (1982) Measurement of microbial biomass phosphorus in soil. Soil Biol Biochem 14:319–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bünemann EK, Keller B, Hoop D, Jud K, Boivin P, Frossard E (2013) Increased availability of phosphorus after drying and rewetting of a grassland soil. Processes and plant use. Plant Soil 370:511–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Butterly CR, Bünemann EK, McNeill AM, Baldock JA, Marschner P (2009) Carbon pulses but not phosphorus pulses are related to decreases in microbial biomass during repeated drying and rewetting of soils. Soil Biol Biochem 41:1406–1416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Butterly CR, McNeill AM, Baldock JA, Marschner P (2011) Rapid changes in carbon and phosphorus after rewetting of dry soil. Biol Fertil Soils 47:41–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cardinale M, Brusetti L, Quatrini P, Borin S, Puglia AM, Rizzi A, Zanardini E, Sorlini C, Corselli C, Daffonchio D (2004) Comparison of different primer sets for use in automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis of complex bacterial communities. Appl Environ Microbiol 70:6147–6156CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Chen H, Lai L, Zhao X, Li G, Lin Q (2016) Soil microbial biomass carbon and phosphorus as affected by frequent drying–rewetting. Soil Res 54:321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dinh M-V, Schramm T, Spohn M, Matzner E (2016) Drying-rewetting cycles release phosphorus from forest soils. J Plant Nutr Soil Sci 179:670–678CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dinh M-V, Guhr A, Spohn M, Matzner E (2017) Release of phosphorus from soil bacterial and fungal biomass following drying/rewetting. Soil Biol Biochem 110:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fierer N, Schimel JP (2002) Effects of drying–rewetting frequency on soil carbon and nitrogen transformations. Soil Biol Biochem 34:777–787CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fisher MM, Triplett EW (1999) Automated approach for ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis of microbial diversity and its application to freshwater bacterial communities. Appl Environ Microbiol 65:4630–4636PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. Gerstberger P, Foken T, Kalbitz K (2004) The Lehstenbach and Steinkreuz Catchments in NE Bavaria, Germany. In: Matzner E (ed) Biogeochemistry of forested catchments in a changing environment. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, Berlin, pp 15–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gordon H, Haygarth PM, Bardgett RD (2008) Drying and rewetting effects on soil microbial community composition and nutrient leaching. Soil Biol Biochem 40:302–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hamer U, Unger M, Makeschin F (2007) Impact of air-drying and rewetting on PLFA profiles of soil microbial communities. J Plant Nutr Soil Sci 170:259–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ilg K, Wellbrock N, Lux W (2009) Phosphorus supply and cycling at long-term forest monitoring sites in Germany. Eur J For Res 128:483–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jenkinson D, Brookes PC, Powlson DS (2004) Measuring soil microbial biomass. Soil Biol Biochem 36:5–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kakumanu ML, Cantrell CL, Williams MA (2013) Microbial community response to varying magnitudes of desiccation in soil. A test of the osmolyte accumulation hypothesis. Soil Biol Biochem 57:644–653CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kohl L, Laganière J, Edwards KA, Billings SA, Morrill PL, van Biesen G, Ziegler SE (2015) Distinct fungal and bacterial δ13C signatures as potential drivers of increasing δ13C of soil organic matter with depth. Biogeochemistry 124:13–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Macklon A, Grayston SJ, Shand CA, Sim A, Sellars S, Ord BG (1997) Uptake and transport of phosphorus by Agrostis capillaris seedlings from rapidly hydrolysed organic sources extracted from 32P-labelled bacterial cultures. Plant Soil 190:163–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mondini C, Contin M, Leita L, de NM (2002) Response of microbial biomass to air-drying and rewetting in soils and compost. Geoderma 105:111–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Murphy J, Riley JP (1962) A modified single solution method for the determination of phosphate in natural waters. Anal Chim Acta 27:31–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nguyen BT, Marschner P (2005) Effect of drying and rewetting on phosphorus transformations in red brown soils with different soil organic matter content. Soil Biol Biochem 37:1573–1576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Oberson A, Friesen DK, Morel C, Tiessen H (1997) Determination of phosphorus released by chloroform fumigation from microbial biomass in high P sorbing tropical soils. Soil Biol Biochem 29:1579–1583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. R Core Team (2014) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Vienna, Austria. URL
  33. Schmitt A, Glaser B (2011) Organic matter dynamics in a temperate forest soil following enhanced drying. Soil Biol Biochem 43:478–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Schöler A, Jacquiod S, Vestergaard G, Schulz S, Schloter M (2017) Analysis of soil microbial communities based on amplicon sequencing of marker genes. Biol Fertil Soils 53:485–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sheik CS, Beasley WH, Elshahed MS, Zhou X, Luo Y, Krumholz LR (2011) Effect of warming and drought on grassland microbial communities. ISME J 5:1692–1700CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  36. Turner BL, Haygarth PM (2001) Biogeochemistry. Phosphorus solubilization in rewetted soils. Nature 411:258CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Vance ED, Brookes PC, Jenkinson DS (1987) Microbial biomass measurements in forest soils. The use of the chloroform fumigation-incubation method in strongly acid soils. Soil Biol Biochem 19:697–702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Vestergaard G, Schulz S, Schöler A, Schloter M (2017) Making big data smart—how to use metagenomics to understand soil quality. Biol Fertil Soils 53:479–484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Voříšková J, Brabcová V, Cajthaml T, Baldrian P (2014) Seasonal dynamics of fungal communities in a temperate oak forest soil. New Phytol 201:269–278CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Weig AR, Peršoh D, Werner S, Betzlbacher A, Rambold G (2013) Diagnostic assessment of mycodiversity in environmental samples by fungal ITS1 rDNA length polymorphism. Mycol Prog 12:719–725CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. White T, Bruns T, Lee S, Taylor J (1990) Amplification and direct sequencing of fungal ribosomal RNA genes for phylogenetics. In: Innis MA, Gelfand DH, Sninsky JJ, White TJ (eds) PCR protocols: a guide to methods and applications. Academic Press, London, pp 315–322Google Scholar
  42. Wu J, Brookes PC (2005) The proportional mineralisation of microbial biomass and organic matter caused by air-drying and rewetting of a grassland soil. Soil Biol Biochem 37:507–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Yevdokimov I, Larionova A, Blagodatskaya E (2016) Microbial immobilisation of phosphorus in soils exposed to drying-rewetting and freeze-thawing cycles. Biol Fertil Soils 52:685–696CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Yuste J, Peñuelas J, Estijarte M, Garcia-Mas J, Mattana S, Ogaya R, Pujol M, Sardans J (2011) Drought-resistant fungi control soil organic matter decomposition and its response to temperature. Glob Chang Biol 17:1475–1486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zhang H, Shi L, Wen D, Yu K (2016) Soil potential labile but not occluded phosphorus forms increase with forest succession. Biol Fertil Soils 52:41–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Soil Ecology, Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research (BayCEER)University of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  2. 2.Genomics & Bioinformatics, BayCEERUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany

Personalised recommendations