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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences

Department Soil Ecology - Prof. Dr. Eva Lehndorff

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Pastore, G; Kaiser, K; Kernchen, S; Spohn, M: Microbial release of apatite- and goethite-bound phosphate in acidic forest soils, Geoderma, 370(114360) (2020), doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2020.114360
Phosphorus (P) is an element crucial for plant nutrition. P can be bound in primary minerals such as apatites or to secondary minerals, such as metal(hydr-)oxides. Microorganisms are capable of releasing mineral-bound P, and thus, transforming it into plant-available forms. This study examined the potential of native microbial communities of five beech forest soils to release P either from hydroxyapatite or P-loaded goethite. Incubation experiments with soil extracts, either with or without glucose, were conducted. Desorption of phosphate from goethite was less effective than the solubilization of phosphate from hydroxyapatite. We found that the net P solubilization from hydroxyapatite was driven by the microbial production of low molecular weight organic acids (LMWOAs), such as D-gluconic and 2-keto-D-gluconic acids, and differed among the microbial communities extracted from the five forest soils. In contrast, the net P desorption rates from goethite did not vary significantly among the microbial communities extracted from the different soils. Microbial acidification of the solution increased the adsorption of phosphate to goethite, whereas less acidic conditions promoted progressive desorption of phosphate. Microbial communities in soil extracts incubated with P-loaded goethite downregulated the release of organic acids, which reduced acidification. The net P solubilization rates from hydroxyapatite and the net P desorption rates from goethite were strongly increased by the addition of glucose, suggesting that microbial P mobilization from minerals is strongly carbon limited. In conclusion, the study shows that microbial communities from acidic beech forest soils are much more efficient at releasing phosphate from hydroxyapatite than from goethite.
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