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Res Microbiol. 2011 Nov;162(9):820-31. doi: 10.1016/j.resmic.2011.01.013. Epub 2011 Feb 22.

Bacterial weathering and its contribution to nutrient cycling in temperate forest ecosystems.

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INRA, UMR 1136 INRA Nancy Université Interactions Arbres Micro-Organismes, Centre INRA de Nancy, 54280 Champenoux, France.


Unlike farmland, forests growing on acidic soils are among the terrestrial ecosystems that are the least influenced or amended by man. Forests which developed on acidic soils are characterized by an important stock of inorganic nutrients entrapped in poorly weatherable soil minerals. In this context, the mineral-weathering process is of great importance, since such minerals are not easily accessible to tree roots. To date, several bacterial genera have been noted for their ability to weather minerals and, in the case of some of them, to improve tree nutrition. Nevertheless, few studies have focused their analyses on mineral-weathering bacterial communities in relation to geochemical cycles and soil characteristics, their ecological origin, associated tree species and forest management practices. Here we discuss the heterogeneity of the mineral-weathering process in forest soils and present what is known concerning the taxonomic and functional characteristics of mineral-weathering bacteria, as well as the different locations where they have been isolated in forest soils. We also discuss the biotic and abiotic factors that may influence the distribution of these bacteria, such as the effect of tree species or forest management practices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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