Heterotrophic Microbes, Microbial and Enzymatic Activity in Antarctic Soils

  • M. Bölter
  • E. Kandeler
  • S. J. Pietr
  • R. D. Seppelt
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 154)


Defining the soil microbial community or its activity is often like a fight against Servante's windmills. Despite the many methods which are available for describing individual figures of this 'black box', many uncertainties remain in this important ecological compartment. Today's methodologies still do not allow us to obtain the full picture of the microbial world. The approach to understanding the microorganism's role has to consider several restrictions, e.g. the number of organisms that are actually involved in metabolic processes, or the amount of available substrates for metabolic processes which cannot be determined as overall parameters. The figures obtained by individual methods thus cannot describe 'the microbial activity'but have to be considered as a certain underestimation or overestimation — depending on the methods applied. An underestimation depends on the reliability of data on total fluxes of matter as well as on the relationships between groups of organisms (Jackson and Volk 1970). Nevertheless, several methods have been applied so far to meet the ecological purpose and to describe the system at an acceptable level — within the limits of the test conditions (Smith and Swift 1983; Raven 1990).


Microbial Biomass Bacterial Biomass Substrate Induce Respiration Antarctic Soil Polar Biol 
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.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Bölter
  • E. Kandeler
  • S. J. Pietr
  • R. D. Seppelt

There are no affiliations available

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