Enzymes in Forest Soils

  • Petr BaldrianEmail author
  • Martina Štursová
Part of the Soil Biology book series (SOILBIOL, volume 22)


Forest soils are known to accumulate dead organic material (plant litter ) on the soil surface. When fresh, this material contains a range of substrates, including soluble saccharides, organic acids, amino acids or starch, as well as the plant cell wall-derived biopolymers, cellulose , hemicellulosesand lignin , which are used as growth substrates by soil decomposer microorganisms. The sequential transformation of litter leads to the formation of a distinct organic horizon in forest soils and results in a gradient of soil microbial biomass and enzymatic activities, both of which sharply decrease with soil depth. Due to the high organic matter input, enzymes participating in the decomposition of organic matter play an important role in forest soils. These include the enzymes used to degrade plant cell wall polymers (cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, and pectin ) and microbial biomass (chitinand other polysaccharides). Besides these, enzyme systems involved in the acquisition of N, P, and S are also abundant since these elements are indispensable for the growth of microbial soil biomass.


Microbial Biomass Forest Soil Litter Decomposition Fungal Biomass Soil Microbial Biomass 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Financial support from the Czech Science Foundation (526/08/0751) and from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (OC08050) is gratefully acknowledged.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Environmental MicrobiologyInstitute of Microbiology of the ASCR, v.v.iPraha 4Czech Republic

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