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Study Sheds Light On Specificity Of Root Exudate Types For Soil Organic Carbon Decomposition

By Zhang Nannan

Soil organic carbon is critical for climate regulation and ecosystem stability. Its decomposition can be significantly influenced by plant root exudates via the priming effect. However, there is still a lack of understanding of how specific compounds of root exudates influence soil carbon decomposition via the priming effect.

In a recent study, researchers led by Wang Peng from the Institute of Applied Ecology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) conducted a  to investigate general patterns and drivers of root exudate priming effects. The research is published in the journal Soil Biology and Biochemistry.

They found that  induced the highest priming effect followed by simple sugars, low-molecular-weight organic acids and phenolics. The priming effect caused by simple sugars increased but then decreased with soil carbon to nitrogen ratio increasing, and the threshold was at a soil carbon to nitrogen ratio of ~14. The incubation temperature also plays an important role. The low-molecular-weight organic acid-induced priming effect was positively correlated with the addition rate.

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