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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Patterns of Fungal and Bacterial Carbon Mineralization Across Northern European Peatlands

Amha, Yosef; Bohne, Heike; Alsanius, Beatrix


The fungal and bacterial activity was determined in 20 northern European peatlands ranging from ombrotrophic bogs to eutrophic fens with key differences in degree of humification, pH, dry bulk density, carbon (C) content and vegetation communities using the selective inhibition (SI) technique. These peatlands were partly disturbed and the respective water tables lowered below the surface layer. Basal respiration ranged from 24 to 128 mu g CO2-C g(-1) dry peat d(-1). Bacterial contributions to CO2 production were high in most peatlands and showed the following pattern: eutrophic >> transitional mesotrophic >> ombrotrophic peatland types. The fungal-to-bacterial (F:B) ratios varied substantially within peatland type, and this was mainly attributed to differences in peat botanical compositions and chemistry. The computed mean Inhibitor Additivity Ratio (IAR) was quite close to 1 to suggest that the SI techniques can be used to partition eukaryotic and prokaryotic activity in wide range of peatlands. Overall, basal respiration, microbial biomass-C, fungal and bacterial activities varied across the studied peatland types, and such differences could have consequences for C- and nutrient-cycling as well as how bogs and fens will respond to environmental changes.


antibiotics; basal respiration; carbon dioxide; microbial activity; microbial biomass; peat

Published in

Geomicrobiology Journal
2015, volume: 32, number: 10, pages: 914-923

Authors' information

Amha, Yosef
Leibniz University of Hannover
Bohne, Heike
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biosystems and Technology

UKÄ Subject classification

Geosciences, Multidisciplinary
Environmental Sciences

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