Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Agrophysics

Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series pp 274-275


Enzymes in Soils

  • Małgorzata BrzezińskaAffiliated withInstitute of Agrophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences Email author 


Soil enzymes. Enzymes in any of the states of occurrence in soils (Ladd et al., 1996).

Numerous processes in soil depend on enzymatic catalysis, including organic matter decomposition, gas emission and sink, pollutants breakdown, energy flow, and nutrient cycling in ecosystem.

Enzymes in soils are associated with different soil constituents. Intracellular enzymes are present in proliferating microorganisms (primarily bacteria and fungi), plant roots, and soil microfauna, or attached to dead cells and cell debris. Numerous extracellular enzymes usually operate at a distance from the parent cell; the capacity to produce and secrete biocatalysts is of survival importance for soil microorganisms and plants. Enzymes in the liquid phase (extracellular as well as released from lysed cells) have generally a short half-life due to rapid denaturation and degradation. However, when complexed with clay minerals or humic colloids, enzymes retain their catalytic properties for a lo ...

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