Adjustment of microbial nitrogen use efficiency to carbon:nitrogen imbalances regulates soil nitrogen cycling

Mooshammer, Maria and Wanek, Wolfgang and Hämmerle, Ieda and Fuchslueger, Lucia and Hofhansl, Florian and Knoltsch, Anna and Schnecker, Jörg and Takriti, Mounir and Watzka, Margarete and Wild, Birgit and Keiblinger, Katharina M and Zechmeister-Boltenstern, Sophie and Richter, Andreas (2014) Adjustment of microbial nitrogen use efficiency to carbon:nitrogen imbalances regulates soil nitrogen cycling. Nature Communications, 5. ISSN 2041-1723

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Abstract

Microbial nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) describes the partitioning of organic N taken up between growth and the release of inorganic N to the environment (that is, N mineralization), and is thus central to our understanding of N cycling. Here we report empirical evidence that microbial decomposer communities in soil and plant litter regulate their NUE. We find that microbes retain most immobilized organic N (high NUE), when they are N limited, resulting in low N mineralization. However, when the metabolic control of microbial decomposers switches from N to C limitation, they release an increasing fraction of organic N as ammonium (low NUE). We conclude that the regulation of NUE is an essential strategy of microbial communities to cope with resource imbalances, independent of the regulation of microbial carbon use efficiency, with significant effects on terrestrial N cycling.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Nature Communications
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3100
Subjects:
ID Code:
79563
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
17 May 2016 08:36
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
02 Apr 2020 03:53