The effect of soluble organic carbon substrates, and environmental modulators on soil microbial function and diversity

Frances Hoyle

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

The principal aim of this thesis was to examine the response of the microbial community to the addition of small amounts (-1 soil) of organic C substrates (‘trigger molecules’) to soil. This addition is comparative to indigenous soluble C concentrations for a range of soil types in Western Australia (typically measured between 20 and 55 μg C g-1 soil). Previously it has been reported that the application of trigger molecules to European soils has caused more CO2-C to be evolved (up to six fold) than was applied . . . Findings from this study indicated that there was an additional CO2 release (i.e. greater than the C added) on application of organic C substrates to some soil treatments. However, findings from this study indicate that the response of the microbial community to small additions of soluble C substrate is not consistent for all soil types and may vary due to greater availability of C, and supports the premise that microbial responses vary in a yet to be predicted manner between soil type and ecosystems. Differences in microbial response to the addition of soluble organic C are likely attributable to differences in soil attributes and environmental factors influencing both the diversity of microbes present and the frequency of food events. Theoretically, trigger molecules could also provide a possible control mechanism for microorganisms in arable farming systems. These mechanisms include stimulating either targeted pathogenic microorganisms that starve after depletion of a suitable substrate; or stimulating beneficial microorganisms to manipulate nutrient cycling, by targeting specific functional groups and altering mineralisation and immobilisation turnover rates.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Western Australia
Thesis sponsors
Award date30 Dec 2006
DOIs
Publication statusUnpublished - 2006

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