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Title: Anthropogenic N Deposition Slows Decay by Favoring Bacterial Metabolism: Insights from Metagenomic Analyses

Litter decomposition is an enzymatically-complex process that is mediated by a diverse assemblage of saprophytic microorganisms. It is a globally important biogeochemical process that can be suppressed by anthropogenic N deposition. In a northern hardwood forest ecosystem located in Michigan, USA, 20 years of experimentally increased atmospheric N deposition has reduced forest floor decay and increased soil C storage. Here, we paired extracellular enzyme assays with shotgun metagenomics to assess if anthropogenic N deposition has altered the functional potential of microbial communities inhabiting decaying forest floor. Experimental N deposition significantly reduced the activity of extracellular enzymes mediating plant cell wall decay, which occurred concurrently with changes in the relative abundance of metagenomic functional gene pathways mediating the metabolism of carbohydrates, aromatic compounds, as well as microbial respiration. Moreover, experimental N deposition increased the relative abundance of 50 of the 60 gene pathways, the majority of which were associated with saprotrophic bacteria. Conversely, the relative abundance and composition of fungal genes mediating the metabolism of plant litter was not affected by experimental N deposition. Future rates of atmospheric N deposition have favored saprotrophic soil bacteria, whereas the metabolic potential of saprotrophic fungi appears resilient to this agent of environmental change. Resultsmore » presented here provide evidence that changes in the functional capacity of saprotrophic soil microorganisms mediate how anthropogenic N deposition increases C storage in soil.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
Publication Date:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Frontiers in Microbiology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 1664-302X
Frontiers Research Foundation
Research Org:
Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; metagenome; saprotroph; N deposition; C storage; climate change
OSTI Identifier: