Discrete taxa of saprotrophic fungi respire different ages of carbon from Antarctic soils

Newsham, K. K., Garnett, M. H. , Robinson, C. H. and Cox, F. (2018) Discrete taxa of saprotrophic fungi respire different ages of carbon from Antarctic soils. Scientific Reports, 8, 7866. (doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-25877-9) (PMID:29777126) (PMCID:PMC5959846)

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Abstract

Different organic compounds have distinct residence times in soil and are degraded by specific taxa of saprotrophic fungi. It hence follows that specific fungal taxa should respire carbon of different ages from these compounds to the atmosphere. Here, we test whether this is the case by radiocarbon (14C) dating CO2 evolved from two gamma radiation-sterilised maritime Antarctic soils inoculated with pure single cultures of four fungi. We show that a member of the Helotiales, which accounted for 41–56% of all fungal sequences in the two soils, respired soil carbon that was aged up to 1,200 years BP and which was 350–400 years older than that respired by the other three taxa. Analyses of the enzyme profile of the Helotialean fungus and the fluxes and δ13C values of CO2 that it evolved suggested that its release of old carbon from soil was associated with efficient cellulose decomposition. Our findings support suggestions that increases in the ages of carbon respired from warmed soils may be caused by changes to the abundances or activities of discrete taxa of microbes, and indicate that the loss of old carbon from soils is driven by specific fungal taxa.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Tis research was funded by an Antarctic Funding Initiative grant from the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) (grant numbers NE/H014098/1, NE/H014772/1 and NE/H01408X/1) and NERC Radiocarbon Facility NRCF010001 (allocation number 1896.0415).
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Garnett, Dr Mark
Authors: Newsham, K. K., Garnett, M. H., Robinson, C. H., and Cox, F.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Scientific Reports
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2045-2322
ISSN (Online):2045-2322
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Scientific Reports 7:7866
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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