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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2002 Aug;81(1-4):99-106.

Effects of resource supplies on the structure and function of microbial communities.

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  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence 66045, USA.


The supplies of nutrients, and their elemental stoichiometry, can have significant impacts upon the structure and function of microbial communities. This review focuses on the effects of nutrient supplies on the biodegradation of organic matter, and on the dynamics of host-pathogen interactions. Analyses of data from the literature suggest significant effects of nitrogen:phosphorus supply ratios on the microbial decomposition of organic matter, and it is argued that these stoichiometric effects may have important implications for the fate and fluxes of carbon in natural ecosystems. In addition, it is shown that the supplies of nitrogen and phosphorus to the host can strongly influence the outcome of infections in both terrestrial and aquatic plants, suggesting that resource availability and resource supply ratios potentially may have significant effects on the health of many plant communities.

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