The pH optimum of soil exoenzymes adapt to long term changes in soil pH

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Puissant, J., Briony, J., Goodall, T., Mang, D., Blaud, A., Gweon, H. S., Malik, A., Jones, D. L., Clark, I. M., Hirsch, P. R. and Griffiths, R. 2019. The pH optimum of soil exoenzymes adapt to long term changes in soil pH. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 138, p. 107601.

AuthorsPuissant, J., Briony, J., Goodall, T., Mang, D., Blaud, A., Gweon, H. S., Malik, A., Jones, D. L., Clark, I. M., Hirsch, P. R. and Griffiths, R.
Abstract

Soil exoenzymes released by microorganisms break down organic matter and are crucial in regulating C, N and P cycling. Soil pH is known to influence enzyme activity, and is also a strong driver of microbial community composition; but little is known about how alterations in soil pH affect enzymatic activity and how this is mediated by microbial communities. To assess long term enzymatic adaptation to soil pH, we conducted enzyme assays at buffered pH levels on two historically managed soils maintained at either pH 5 or 7 from the Rothamsted Park Grass Long-term experiment. The pH optima for a range of exoenzymes involved in C, N, P cycling, differed between the two soils, the direction of the shift being toward the source soil pH, indicating the production of pH adapted isoenzymes by the soil microbial community. Soil bacterial and fungal communities determined by amplicon sequencing were clearly distinct between pH 5 and soil pH 7 soils, possibly explaining differences in enzymatic responses. Furthermore, β-glucosidase gene sequences extracted from metagenomes revealed an increased abundance of Acidobacterial producers in the pH 5 soils, and Actinobacteria in pH 7 soils. Our findings demonstrate that the pH optimum of soil exoenzymes adapt to long term changes in soil pH, the direction being dependent on the soil pH shift; and we provide further evidence that changes in functional microbial communities may underpin this phenomena, though new research is now needed to directly link change in enzyme activity optima with microbial communities. More generally, our new findings have large implications for modelling the efficiency of different microbial enzymatic processes under changing environmental conditions.

KeywordsEnzyme activity ; Adaptation; Liming; Carbon degradation; Metagenomics; Microbial community
Year of Publication2019
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Journal citation138, p. 107601
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2019.107601
Web address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0038071719302652
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderNatural Environment Research Council
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 1 (WP1) - Optimising nutrient flows and pools in the soil-plant-biota system
U-Grass: Understanding and enhancing soil ecosystem services and resilience in UK grass and croplands
The Rothamsted Long Term Experiments [2017-2022]
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online16 Sep 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted15 Sep 2019
PublisherElsevier
ISSN0038-0717

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