Spatial and temporal dynamics of hotspots of enzyme activity in soil as affected by living and dead roots—a soil zymography analysis
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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.
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.
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.
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.
KeywordsRhizosphere Microbial hotspots Soil microbial activity Detritusphere Spatial distribution Extracellular enzymes Synergistic effects
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