Impact of drought on soil microbial biomass and extracellular enzyme activity

Qing Qu, Zhen Wang, Quan Gan, Rentao Liu, Hongwei Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: With the continuous changes in climate patterns due to global warming, drought has become an important limiting factor in the development of terrestrial ecosystems. However, a comprehensive understanding of the impact of drought on soil microbial activity at a global scale is lacking. Methods: In this study, we aimed to examine the effects of drought on soil microbial biomass (carbon [MBC], nitrogen [MBN], and phosphorus [MBP]) and enzyme activity (β-1, 4-glucosidase [BG]; β-D-cellobiosidase [CBH]; β-1, 4-N-acetylglucosaminidase [NAG]; L-leucine aminopeptidase [LAP]; and acid phosphatase [AP]). Additionally, we conducted a meta-analysis to determine the degree to which these effects are regulated by vegetation type, drought intensity, drought duration, and mean annual temperature (MAT). Result and discussion: Our results showed that drought significantly decreased the MBC, MBN, and MBP and the activity levels of BG and AP by 22.7%, 21.2%, 21.6%, 26.8%, and 16.1%, respectively. In terms of vegetation type, drought mainly affected the MBC and MBN in croplands and grasslands. Furthermore, the response ratio of BG, CBH, NAG, and LAP were negatively correlated with drought intensity, whereas MBN and MBP and the activity levels of BG and CBH were negatively correlated with drought duration. Additionally, the response ratio of BG and NAG were negatively correlated with MAT. In conclusion, drought significantly reduced soil microbial biomass and enzyme activity on a global scale. Our results highlight the strong impact of drought on soil microbial biomass and carbon- and phosphorus-acquiring enzyme activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1221288
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Volume14
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 Qu, Wang, Gan, Liu and Xu.

Funding

This work was supported by the Open Fund for Key Lab. of Land Degradation and Ecological Restoration in Northwestern China of Ningxia University (LDER2023Z02), the Innovation Group Project of Natural Science Foundation of Ningxia Province (2023AAC01002), and the Innovation Group Project of Ningxia Science and Technology (2021RXTDLX01). Acknowledgments

FundersFunder number
Ningxia Science and Technology2021RXTDLX01
Ningxia UniversityLDER2023Z02
Natural Science Foundation of Ningxia Province2023AAC01002

    Keywords

    • biogeochemical cycles
    • climate change
    • ecosystem function
    • ecosystem structure
    • soil microbial activity
    • soil microbial community

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