Acta Biologica Hungarica

, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 96–106 | Cite as

Leaf Litter Decomposition in Torna Stream before and after a Red Mud Disaster

  • T. KucserkaEmail author
  • Kata Karádi-Kovács
  • M. Vass
  • G. B. Selmeczy
  • Katalin Eszter Hubai
  • Viktória Üveges
  • I. Kacsala
  • N. Törő
  • Judit Padisák


The aim of the study was to estimate the breakdown of the allochthonous litter in an artificial stream running in an agricultural area and compare it with the same values following a toxic mud spill into the same stream. Litter bags were filled with three types of leaves (Quercus robur, Populus tremula and Salix alba) and placed to the bottom of the river. Ergosterol was used to detect fungal biomass. We supposed the absence of fungi and the retardation of leaf litter decomposition. Only pH and conductivity increased significantly. Leaf mass loss after the catastrophe was much slower than in 2009 and the decay curves did not follow the exponential decay model. Prior to the catastrophe, leaf mass loss was fast in Torna, compared to other streams in the area. The reason is that the stream is modified, the bed is trapezoid and covered with concrete stones. Fungal biomass was lower, than in the pre-disaster experiment, because fungi did not have enough leaves to sporulate. Leaf mass loss followed the exponential decay curve before the disaster, but after that it was possible only after a non-change period.


Red mud disaster leaf litter decomposition ergosterol fungal biomass leaf mass loss 


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© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2014

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Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Kucserka
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Kata Karádi-Kovács
    • 1
  • M. Vass
    • 1
  • G. B. Selmeczy
    • 1
  • Katalin Eszter Hubai
    • 1
  • Viktória Üveges
    • 1
  • I. Kacsala
    • 1
  • N. Törő
    • 3
  • Judit Padisák
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of LimnologyUniversity of PannoniaHungary
  2. 2.Department of Meteorology and Water ManagementUniversity of PannoniaKeszthelyHungary
  3. 3.Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of PannoniaVeszprémHungary
  4. 4.HAS UP Limnoecology Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of SciencesVeszprémHungary

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