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Folia Microbiol (Praha). 2011 Jan;56(1):36-43. doi: 10.1007/s12223-011-0011-7. Epub 2011 Mar 11.

Microbial properties of soil aggregates created by earthworms and other factors: spherical and prismatic soil aggregates from unreclaimed post-mining sites.

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1
Biology Center of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i. - Institute of Soil Biology, 370 05, České Budějovice, Czech Republic. frouz@natur.cuni.cz

Abstract

Soil aggregates between 2 and 5 mm from 35- and 45-year-old unreclaimed post-mining sites near Sokolov (Czech Republic) were divided into two groups: spherical and prismatic. X-ray tomography indicated that prismatic aggregates consisted of fragments of claystone bonded together by amorphous clay and roots while spherical aggregates consisted of a clay matrix and organic fragments of various sizes. Prismatic aggregates were presumed to be formed by plant roots and physical processes during weathering of Tertiary mudstone, while earthworms were presumed to contribute to the formation of spherical aggregates. The effects of drying and rewetting and glucose addition on microbial respiration, microbial biomass, and counts of bacteria in these aggregates were determined. Spherical aggregates contained a greater percentage of C and N and a higher C-to-N ratio than prismatic ones. The C content of the particulate organic matter was also higher in the spherical than in the prismatic aggregates. Although spherical aggregates had a higher microbial respiration and biomass, the growth of microbial biomass in spherical aggregates was negatively correlated with initial microbial biomass, indicating competition between bacteria. Specific respiration was negatively correlated with microbial biomass. Direct counts of bacteria were higher in spherical than in prismatic aggregates. Bacterial numbers were more stable in the center than in the surface layers of the aggregates. Transmission electron microscopy indicated that bacteria often occurred as individual cells in prismatic aggregates but as small clusters of cells in spherical aggregates. Ratios of colony forming units (cultivatable bacteria) to direct counts were higher in spherical than in prismatic aggregates. Spherical aggregates also contained faster growing bacteria.

PMID:
21394479
DOI:
10.1007/s12223-011-0011-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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