Plant and Soil

, Volume 119, Issue 2, pp 229–235 | Cite as

Two types of chemolithotrophic nitrification in acid heathland humus

  • W. De Boer
  • P. J. A. Klein Gunnewiek
  • S. R. Troelstra
  • H. J. Laanbroek


The nature of nitrification in the organic horizons (FH) of two heathland soils was studied. Two types of chemolithotrophic nitrification but no heterotrophic nitrification were detected in the acid heathland humus. One type was predominant in slow nitrate producing humus. It was acid-sensitive but could be stimulated by urea at low pH. The other type was acid-tolerant, it was not stimulated by urea. The latter type was predominant in fast nitrate producing humus. The occurrence of acid-tolerant chemolithotrophic nitrification provides indirect evidence for the existence of previously unknown acid-tolerant, chemolithotrophic, ammonium-oxidizing bacteria. Nitrification by these micro-organisms may be an important source of soil acidification in acid soils that are exposed to high levels of ammonium deposition.

Key words

acid-tolerantversus acid-sensitive chemolithotrophic nitrification heathland humus 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. De Boer
    • 1
  • P. J. A. Klein Gunnewiek
    • 1
  • S. R. Troelstra
    • 1
  • H. J. Laanbroek
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Ecological ResearchHeterenThe Netherlands

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