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Interspecific variation in polyphenol production by plants has been interpreted in terms of defense against herbivores. Several recent lines of evidence suggest that polyphenols also influence the pools and fluxes of inorganic and organic soil nutrients. Such effects could have far-ranging consequences for nutrient competition among and between plants and microbes, and for ecosystem nutrient cycling and retention. The significance of polyphenols for nutrient cycling and plant productivity is still uncertain, but it could provide an alternative or complementary explanation for the variability in polyphenol production by plants. Published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, volume 15, issue 6, on pages 238 - 243, in...
Plant roots and soil microorganisms contain significant quantities of low molecular weight (MW) phosphorylated nucleosides and sugars. Consequently, upon death these can represent a significant input of organic-P to the soil. Some of these organic-P substrates must first be dephosphorylated by phosphatases before being assimilated by the soil microbial community while others can be taken up directly from soil solution. To determine whether sorption or phosphatase activity was limiting the bioavailability of low MW organic-P in soil we compared the microbial uptake and C mineralization of a range of 14C-labeled organic-P substrates [glucose-6-phosphate, adenosine monophosphate (AMP), adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and...
The effects of a dry-rewetting event (D/RW) on soil microbial properties and nutrient release by leaching from two soils taken from adjacent grasslands with different histories of management intensity were studied. These were a low-productivity grassland, with no history of fertilizer application and a high-productivity grassland with a history of high fertilizer application, referred to as unimproved and improved grassland, respectively. The use of phospholipid fatty acid analysis (PLFA) revealed that the soil of the unimproved grassland had a significantly greater microbial biomass, and a greater abundance of fungi relative to bacteria than did the improved grassland. Soils from both grasslands were maintained...