Skip to main content
Doctoral thesis, 2017

The role of biological processes in base cation supply in boreal forest podzols

Fahad, Zaenab

Abstract

This thesis describes experiments designed to improve understanding of biological processes contributing to supply of base cations and other nutrients in boreal forest podzols. We used microcosms containing tree seedlings growing in natural substrates, a combination of direct measurements, modelling, stable Mg isotope analysis, and 13CO2 pulse-labelling. Addition of 13C-labelled fungal necromass to soil resulted in rapid decomposition and active incorporation of 13C into RNA of Burkholderia, Streptacidophilus, Dyella, Herminiimonas, Granulicella and fungal species belonging mainly to the genera Mortierella and Umbelopsis. There was no evidence of 13C incorporation into RNA of ectomycorrhizal fungi supporting the idea that ectomycorrhizal fungi primarily play an active role in organic matter decomposition by releasing N from recalcitrant substrates, but do not use organic matter as a source of metabolic C. Selected ectomycorrhizal and nonmycorrhizal fungi were examined for their capacity to fractionate and assimilate stable Mg isotopes in vitro. Ectomycorrhizal fungi mobilised and accumulated significantly higher concentrations of Mg, K and P than nonmycorrhizal fungi, when grown on granite particles. Mycorrhizal fungi were significantly depleted in heavy isotopes compared with nonmycorrhizal fungi and there was a highly significant statistical relationship between δ26Mg tissue signature and mycelial concentration of Mg. Pinus sylvestris seedlings were grown in compartmentalised microcosms allowing their mycorrhizal mycelium, but not roots, to access different substrates, including granite particles. Root biomass and contents of Ca, K, Mg, and P in plants in granite treatments were significantly higher than in control roots. Carbon allocation by the ectomycorrhizal mycelium to soil solution was significantly and positively correlated with base cation and P content of the plants. A final experiment (using reconstructed boreal forest podzol layers) was conducted in which the relative amounts of organic and mineral substrates were manipulated to simulate different levels of intensification of the removal of organic matter. All plants were deficient in K and P but had above optimal levels of Ca and Mg. Total plant and fungal mycelial biomass was positively related to the amount of organic soil in each treatment. The δ26Mg values of soil solution samples in B horizon soil increased successively with increasing plant and fungal mycelial biomass, suggesting increased uptake of Mg from the B horizon, with discrimination against the heavier isotope resulting in higher enrichment of 26Mg.

Keywords

Base cations; Mineral weathering; Organic matter decomposition; Ectomycorrhizal fungi; Podzol; Magnesium isotopes; Nutrient mobilisation

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2017, number: 2017:23
ISBN: 978-91-576-8819-4, eISBN: 978-91-576-8820-0
Publisher: Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Authors' information

Fahad, Zaenab (Fahad, Zaenab)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Mycology and Pathology

UKÄ Subject classification

Geochemistry
Other Biological Topics
Soil Science
Forest Science
Ecology
Analytical Chemistry

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/79908