Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) play an important role in litter decomposition. This study investigated how soil nutrient level affected the process. Results showed that AMF colonization had no significant effect on litter decomposition under normal soil nutrient conditions. However, litter decomposition was accelerated significantly under lower nutrient conditions. Soil microbial biomass in decomposition system was significantly increased. Especially, in moderate lower nutrient treatment (condition of half-normal soil nutrient), litters exhibited the highest decomposition rate, AMF hypha revealed the greatest density, and enzymes (especially nitrate reductase) showed the highest activities as well. Meanwhile, the immobilization of nitrogen (N) in the decomposing litter remarkably decreased. Our results suggested that the roles AMF played in ecosystem were largely affected by soil nutrient levels. At normal soil nutrient level, AMF exhibited limited effects in promoting decomposition. When soil nutrient level decreased, the promoting effect of AMF on litter decomposition began to appear, especially on N mobilization. However, under extremely low nutrient conditions, AMF showed less influence on decomposition and may even compete with decomposer microorganisms for nutrients.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 5, 2017
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