Decomposition of cellulose in soils
1. Cellulose decomposition in forest and orchard soils was investigated by studying the breakdown of boiled and washed cellophane in the soils and in vitro.
Decomposition occurred from quick to slow in the order: orchard on clay soil, forest on clay soil, forest on sandy loam, and in the latter in the order: calcareous mull, acid mull and mor.
2. In the different forest soils which were investigated the rate of decomposition was parallel to their water capacity. It slowed down considerably when the water content of the soil decreased, especially after the wilting point was reached.
3. Of the fungi isolated from these soils, those from orchard soil — 5% to 50%Fusarium spp. — were among the fastest decomposers of cellulose. This agrees with, and may explain the high rate of decomposition in orchard soil.
4. Decomposition in pure culture is quicker than in soil. As filtersterilized soil extract checked the decomposition in pure culture, but heat-sterilized soil extract did not, an extractable but heat-sensitive substance may be one retarding factor.
KeywordsCellulose Forest Soil Pure Culture Sandy Loam Clay Soil
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