Editor: Christoph Tebbe
Transformation of Quercus petraea litter: successive changes in litter chemistry are reflected in differential enzyme activity and changes in the microbial community composition
Version of Record online: 26 NOV 2010
© 2010 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved
FEMS Microbiology Ecology
Volume 75, Issue 2, pages 291–303, February 2011
How to Cite
Šnajdr, J., Cajthaml, T., Valášková, V., Merhautová, V., Petránková, M., Spetz, P., Leppänen, K. and Baldrian, P. (2011), Transformation of Quercus petraea litter: successive changes in litter chemistry are reflected in differential enzyme activity and changes in the microbial community composition. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 75: 291–303. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2010.00999.x
- Issue online: 4 JAN 2011
- Version of Record online: 26 NOV 2010
- Accepted manuscript online: 5 NOV 2010 04:48AM EST
- Received 27 August 2010; revised 25 October 2010; accepted 26 October 2010., Final version published online 23 November 2010.
- extracellular enzymes;
- forest soil;
- litter decomposition
The links among the changes in litter chemistry, the activity of extracellular enzymes and the microbial community composition were observed in Quercus petraea litter. Three phases of decomposition could be distinguished. In the early 4-month stage, with high activities of β-glucosidase, β-xylosidase and cellobiohydrolase, 16.4% of litter was decomposed. Hemicelluloses were rapidly removed while cellulose and lignin degradation was slow. In months 4–12, with high endocellulase and endoxylanase activities, decomposition of cellulose prevailed and 31.8% of litter mass was lost. After the third phase of decomposition until month 24 with high activity of ligninolytic enzymes, the litter mass loss reached 67.9%. After 2 years of decay, cellulose decomposition was almost complete and most of the remaining polysaccharides were in the form of hemicelluloses. Fungi largely dominated over bacteria as leaf endophytes and also in the litter immediately before contact with soil, and this fungal dominance lasted until month 4. Bacterial biomass (measured as phospholipid fatty acid content) in litter increased with time but also changed qualitatively, showing an increasing number of Actinobacteria. This paper shows that the dynamics of decomposition of individual litter components changes with time in accordance with the changes in the microbial community composition and its production of extracellular enzymes.