Tropical forest soil microbial communities couple iron and carbon biogeochemistry

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We report that iron-reducing bacteria are primary mediators of anaerobic carbon oxidation in upland tropical soils spanning a rainfall gradient (3500 - 5000 mm yr-1) in northeast Puerto Rico. The abundant rainfall and high net primary productivity of these tropical forests provide optimal soil habitat for iron-reducing and iron-oxidizing bacteria. Spatially and temporally dynamic redox conditions make iron-transforming microbial communities central to the belowground carbon cycle in these wet tropical forests. The exceedingly high abundance of iron-reducing bacteria (up to 1.2 x 10{sup 9} cells per gram soil) indicated that they possess extensive metabolic capacity to catalyze the reduction of ... continued below

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Dubinsky, E.A.; Silver, W.L. & Firestone, M.K. October 15, 2009.

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We report that iron-reducing bacteria are primary mediators of anaerobic carbon oxidation in upland tropical soils spanning a rainfall gradient (3500 - 5000 mm yr-1) in northeast Puerto Rico. The abundant rainfall and high net primary productivity of these tropical forests provide optimal soil habitat for iron-reducing and iron-oxidizing bacteria. Spatially and temporally dynamic redox conditions make iron-transforming microbial communities central to the belowground carbon cycle in these wet tropical forests. The exceedingly high abundance of iron-reducing bacteria (up to 1.2 x 10{sup 9} cells per gram soil) indicated that they possess extensive metabolic capacity to catalyze the reduction of iron minerals. In soils from the higher rainfall sites, measured rates of ferric iron reduction could account for up to 44 % of organic carbon oxidation. Iron reducers appeared to compete with methanogens when labile carbon availability was limited. We found large numbers of bacteria that oxidize reduced iron at sites with high rates of iron reduction and large numbers of iron-reducers. the coexistence of large populations of ironreducing and iron-oxidizing bacteria is evidence for rapid iron cycling between its reduced and oxidized states, and suggests that mutualistic interactions among these bacteria ultimately fuel organic carbon oxidation and inhibit CH4 production in these upland tropical forests.

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  • Journal Name: Ecology

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  • Report No.: LBNL-3065E
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 982053
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1014460

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  • October 15, 2009

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  • Oct. 14, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

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  • Oct. 17, 2017, 7:01 p.m.

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Dubinsky, E.A.; Silver, W.L. & Firestone, M.K. Tropical forest soil microbial communities couple iron and carbon biogeochemistry, article, October 15, 2009; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1014460/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.