Microbial energy and matter transformation in agricultural soils

Finn, Damien, Kopittke, Peter M., Dennis, Paul G. and Dalal, Ram C. (2017) Microbial energy and matter transformation in agricultural soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 111 176-192. doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2017.04.010

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Author Finn, Damien
Kopittke, Peter M.
Dennis, Paul G.
Dalal, Ram C.
Title Microbial energy and matter transformation in agricultural soils
Journal name Soil Biology and Biochemistry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0038-0717
Publication date 2017-04-21
Year available 2017
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.soilbio.2017.04.010
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 111
Start page 176
End page 192
Total pages 17
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon Press
Language eng
Subject 2404 Microbiology
1111 Soil Science
Abstract Low bioavailability of organic carbon (C) and energy are key constraints to microbial biomass and activity. Microbial biomass, biodiversity and activity are all involved in regulating soil ecosystem services such as plant productivity, nutrient cycling and greenhouse gas emissions. A number of agricultural practices, of which tillage and fertiliser application are two examples, can increase the availability of soil organic C (SOC). Such practices often lead to reductions in soil aggregation and increases in SOC loss and greenhouse gas emissions. This review focuses on how the bioavailability of SOC and energy influence the ecology and functioning of microorganisms in agricultural soils. Firstly we consider how management practices affect the bioavailability of SOC and energy at the ecosystem level. Secondly we consider the interaction between SOC bioavailability and ecological principles that shape microbial community composition and function in agricultural systems. Lastly, we discuss and compare several examples of physiological differences that underlie how microbial species respond to C availability and management practices. We present evidence whereby management practices that increase the bioavailability of SOC alter community structure and function to favour microbial species likely to be associated with increased rates of SOC loss compared to natural ecosystems. We argue that efforts to restore stabilised, sequestered SOC stocks and improve ecosystem services in agricultural systems should be directed toward the manipulation of the microbial community composition and function to favour species associated with reduced rates of SOC loss. We conclude with several suggestions regarding where improvements in multi-disciplinary approaches concerning soil microbiology can be made to improve the sustainability of agricultural systems.
Keyword Soil organic carbon
Environmental microbiology
Microbial ecology
Microbial physiology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
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