Frontiers in Forests and Global Change
Warming can increase the efflux of carbon dioxide (CO2) from soils and can potentially feedback to climate change. In ajout to warming, the input of labile carbon can enhance the microbial activity by stimulating the co-metabolism of recalcitrant soil organic matter (SOM). This is particularly true with SOM under invaded ecosystems where elevated CO2 and warming may increase the biomass of invasive species resulting in higher addition of labile substrates. We hypothesized that the input of labile carbon would instigate a greater soil organic carbon (SOC) loss with warming compared to the ambient température. We investigated this by incubating soils collected from a native pine (Pinus taeda) forest to which labile carbon from the invasive species kudzu (Pueraria lobata) was added. We evaluated the microbial extracellular enzyme activité, molecular composition of SOC and the temperature sensitivity of soil CO2 efflux under warming and labile carbon addition. After 14 months of soil incubation, the addition of labile C through kudzu extract increased the activity of β-1,4-glucosidase compared with the control. However, the activity of N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase and fungal biomasse (ergosterol) decreased with labile carbon addition. The activity of peroxidase increased with warming after 14 months of soil incubation. Although the carbon content of incubated soils did not vary with substrate and temperature treatments, the molecular composition of SOC indicated a general decrease in biopolymers such as cutin, suberin, long-chain fatty acids, and phytosterol with warming and an increasing trend of microbial-derived compounds with labile substrate addition. In soils that received an addition of labile C, the macro-aggregate stability was higher while the temperature sensitivity of soil C efflux was lower compared with the control. The increase in aggregate stability could enhance the physical protection of SOC from microbial decomposition potentially contributing to the observed pattern of temperature sensitivity. Our results suggest that warming could preferentially accelerate the decomposition of recalcitrant compounds while the addition of labile substrates could enhance microbial-derived compounds that are relatively resistant to further decomposition. Our study further emphasizes that global change factors such as plant invasion and climate change can differentially alter soil microbial activity and the composition of SOC.
Tamura M and Suseela V (2021) Warming and Labile Substrate Addition Alter Enzyme Activities and Composition of Soil Organic Carbon. Front. For. Glob. Change 4:691302. doi: 10.3389/ffgc.2021.691302