Nutrients cause consolidation of soil carbon flux to small proportion of bacterial community

Bram W. Stone, Junhui Li, Benjamin J. Koch, Steven J. Blazewicz, Paul Dijkstra, Michaela Hayer, Kirsten S. Hofmockel, Xiao Jun Allen Liu, Rebecca L. Mau, Ember M. Morrissey, Jennifer Pett-Ridge, Egbert Schwartz, Bruce A. Hungate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Nutrient amendment diminished bacterial functional diversity, consolidating carbon flow through fewer bacterial taxa. Here, we show strong differences in the bacterial taxa responsible for respiration from four ecosystems, indicating the potential for taxon-specific control over soil carbon cycling. Trends in functional diversity, defined as the richness of bacteria contributing to carbon flux and their equitability of carbon use, paralleled trends in taxonomic diversity although functional diversity was lower overall. Among genera common to all ecosystems, Bradyrhizobium, the Acidobacteria genus RB41, and Streptomyces together composed 45–57% of carbon flow through bacterial productivity and respiration. Bacteria that utilized the most carbon amendment (glucose) were also those that utilized the most native soil carbon, suggesting that the behavior of key soil taxa may influence carbon balance. Mapping carbon flow through different microbial taxa as demonstrated here is crucial in developing taxon-sensitive soil carbon models that may reduce the uncertainty in climate change projections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3381
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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