How microbial communities adapt to soil acidification

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Temperate grasslands in northern China have experienced soil acidification in the last 30 years due to increasing acid deposition and unsustainable management. Long-term soil acidification may lead to leaching of base cations, nutrient imbalances and metal stress for soil biomes.

Recently, a research team from the Institute of Applied Ecology (IAE) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) revealed how microbial communities adapt to the threats of soil acidification by experimentally adding elemental sulfur (S) to simulate soil acidification in a meadow steppe of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China.

The study was published in Ecological Processes.

The researchers found that soil acidification increased relative abundance of fungi community and subsequently led to a conversion from microbial nitrogen (N) limitation to carbon (C) limitation with decreasing soil pH.

To cope with this situation, regulated the relative production of enzymes by increasing the ratio of β-glucosidase (BG, C-acquiring enzyme) to leucine aminopeptidase (LAP, N-acquiring enzyme), even though both enzymatic activities decreased with S addition.

Results of structural equation modeling (SEM) suggested that the increased microbial carbon-use efficiency (CUE) counteracted the negative effect of metal stress (i.e., aluminum and manganese) under .

More information: Tianpeng Li et al, Enhanced carbon acquisition and use efficiency alleviate microbial carbon relative to nitrogen limitation under soil acidification, Ecological Processes (2021). DOI: 10.1186/s13717-021-00309-1

Citation: How microbial communities adapt to soil acidification (2021, August 20) retrieved 30 November 2023 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further

Microbial sieving effects on vertical differentiation of nutrient availability along forest succession


Feedback to editors