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Keywords:

  • nitrogen cycle;
  • nitrification;
  • denitrification;
  • nitrogen fixation;
  • mineralization

Abstract

Nitrogen management in soils has been considered as key to the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems and a protection of major ecosystem services. However, the microorganisms driving processes like nitrification, denitrification, N-fixation and mineralization are highly influenced by changing climatic conditions, intensification of agriculture and the application of new chemicals to a so far unknown extent. In this review, the current knowledge concerning the influence of selected scenarios of global change on the abundance, diversity and activity of microorganisms involved in nitrogen turnover, notably in agricultural and grassland soils, is summarized and linked to the corresponding processes. In this context, data are presented on nitrogen-cycling processes and the corresponding microbial key players during ecosystem development and changes in functional diversity patterns during shifts in land use. Furthermore, the impact of increased temperature, carbon dioxide and changes in precipitation regimes on microbial nitrogen turnover is discussed. Finally, some examples of the effects of pesticides and antibiotics after application to soil for selected processes of nitrogen transformation are also shown.