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Berlin Brandenburg

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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Frontiers in Microbiology, 01 July 2018, Vol.9
    Description: There is still no satisfactory understanding of the factors that enable soil microbial populations to be as highly biodiverse as they are. The present article explores in silico the hypothesis that the heterogeneous distribution of soil organic matter, in addition to the spatial connectivity of the soil moisture, might account for the observed microbial biodiversity in soils. A multi-species, individual-based, pore-scale model is developed and parameterized with data from 3 Arthrobacter sp. strains, known to be, respectively, competitive, versatile, and poorly competitive. In the simulations, bacteria of each strain are distributed in a 3D computed tomography (CT) image of a real soil and three water saturation levels (100, 50, and 25%) and spatial heterogeneity levels (high, intermediate, and low) in the distribution of the soil organic matter are considered. High and intermediate heterogeneity levels assume, respectively, an amount of particulate organic matter (POM) distributed in a single (high heterogeneity) or in four (intermediate heterogeneity) randomly placed fragments. POM is hydrolyzed at a constant rate following a first-order kinetic, and continuously delivers dissolved organic carbon (DOC) into the liquid phase, where it is then taken up by bacteria. The low heterogeneity level assumes that the food source is available from the start as DOC. Unlike the relative abundances of the 3 strains, the total bacterial biomass and respiration are similar under the high and intermediate resource heterogeneity schemes. The key result of the simulations is that spatial heterogeneity in the distribution of organic matter influences the maintenance of bacterial biodiversity. The least competing strain, which does not reach noticeable growth for the low and intermediate spatial heterogeneities of resource distribution, can grow appreciably and even become more abundant than the other strains in the absence of direct competition, if the placement of the resource is favorable. For geodesic distances exceeding 5 mm, microbial colonies cannot grow. These conclusions are conditioned by assumptions made in the model, yet they suggest that microscale factors need to be considered to better understand the root causes of the high biodiversity of soils.
    Keywords: Soil ; Pore Scale ; Organic Matter ; Resource Allocation ; Bacteria ; Biodiversity ; Biology
    E-ISSN: 1664-302X
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Frontiers in Microbiology, 01 August 2018, Vol.9
    Description: Over the last 60 years, soil microbiologists have accumulated a wealth of experimental data showing that the bulk, macroscopic parameters (e.g., granulometry, pH, soil organic matter, and biomass contents) commonly used to characterize soils provide insufficient information to describe quantitatively the activity of soil microorganisms and some of its outcomes, like the emission of greenhouse gasses. Clearly, new, more appropriate macroscopic parameters are needed, which reflect better the spatial heterogeneity of soils at the microscale (i.e., the pore scale) that is commensurate with the habitat of many microorganisms. For a long time, spectroscopic and microscopic tools were lacking to quantify processes at that scale, but major technological advances over the last 15 years have made suitable equipment available to researchers. In this context, the objective of the present article is to review progress achieved to date in the significant research program that has ensued. This program can be rationalized as a sequence of steps, namely the quantification and modeling of the physical-, (bio)chemical-, and microbiological properties of soils, the integration of these different perspectives into a unified theory, its upscaling to the macroscopic scale, and, eventually, the development of new approaches to measure macroscopic soil characteristics. At this stage, significant progress has been achieved on the physical front, and to a lesser extent on the (bio)chemical one as well, both in terms of experiments and modeling. With regard to the microbial aspects, although a lot of work has been devoted to the modeling of bacterial and fungal activity in soils at the pore scale, the appropriateness of model assumptions cannot be readily assessed because of the scarcity of relevant experimental data. For significant progress to be made, it is crucial to make sure that research on the microbial components of soil systems does not keep lagging behind the work on the physical and (bio)chemical characteristics. Concerning the subsequent steps in the program, very little integration of the various disciplinary perspectives has occurred so far, and, as a result, researchers have not yet been able to tackle the scaling up to the macroscopic level. Many challenges, some of them daunting, remain on the path ahead. Fortunately, a number of these challenges may be resolved by brand new measuring equipment that will become commercially available in the very near future.
    Keywords: Soil Microbiology ; Biodiversity ; Upscaling ; Tomography ; X-Ray Computed ; Nanosims Imaging ; Biology
    E-ISSN: 1664-302X
    Library Location Call Number Volume/Issue/Year Availability
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