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Plant and Soil

, Volume 379, Issue 1–2, pp 67–77 | Cite as

Spatial and temporal dynamics of hotspots of enzyme activity in soil as affected by living and dead roots—a soil zymography analysis

  • Marie SpohnEmail author
  • Yakov Kuzyakov
Regular Article

Abstract

Aims

Hotspots of enzyme activity in soil strongly depend on carbon inputs such as rhizodeposits and root detritus. In this study, we compare the effect of living and dead Lupinus polyphyllus L. roots on the small-scale distribution of cellulase, chitinase and phosphatase activity in soil.

Methods

Soil zymography, a novel in situ method, was used to analyze extracellular cellulase, chitinase and phosphatase activity in the presence of i. living L. polyphyllus roots prior to shoot cutting and ii. dead/dying roots 10, 20 and 30 days after shoot cutting.

Results

After shoot cutting, cellulase and chitinase activities increased and were highest at the root tips. The areas of high cellulase and phosphatase activity extend up to 55 mm away from the root. Moreover, we observed microhotspots of cellulose, chitinase, and phosphatase activity up to 60 mm away from the next living root. The number and activity of microhotspots of chitinase activity was maximal 10 days after shoot cutting.

Conclusions

The study showed that young root detritus stimulates enzyme activities stronger than living roots. Soil zymography allowed identification of microhotspots of enzyme activity up to several cm away from living and dying roots, which most likely were caused by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.

Keywords

Rhizosphere Microbial hotspots Soil microbial activity Detritusphere Spatial distribution Extracellular enzymes Synergistic effects 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Soil EcologyUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  2. 2.Department of Soil Science of Temperate EcosystemsGeorg-August-University GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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