Soil texture influences soil bacterial biomass in the permafrost-affected alpine desert of the Tibetan plateau

Front Microbiol. 2022 Dec 12;13:1007194. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.1007194. eCollection 2022.


Under warm climate conditions, permafrost thawing results in the substantial release of carbon (C) into the atmosphere and potentially triggers strong positive feedback to global warming. Soil microorganisms play an important role in decomposing organic C in permafrost, thus potentially regulating the ecosystem C balance in permafrost-affected regions. Soil microbial community and biomass are mainly affected by soil organic carbon (SOC) content and soil texture. Most studies have focused on acidic permafrost soil (pH < 7), whereas few examined alkaline permafrost-affected soil (pH > 7). In this study, we analyzed soil microbial communities and biomass in the alpine desert and steppe on the Tibetan plateau, where the soil pH values were approximately 8.7 ± 0.2 and 8.5 ± 0.1, respectively. Our results revealed that microbial biomass was significantly associated with mean grain size (MGS) and SOC content in alkaline permafrost-affected soils (p < 0.05). In particular, bacterial and fungal biomasses were affected by SOC content in the alpine steppe, whereas bacterial and fungal biomasses were mainly affected by MGS and SOC content, respectively, in the alpine desert. Combined with the results of the structural equation model, those findings suggest that SOC content affects soil texture under high pH-value (pH 8-9) and that soil microbial biomass is indirectly affected. Soils in the alpine steppe and desert are dominated by plagioclase, which provides colonization sites for bacterial communities. This study aimed to highlight the importance of soil texture in managing soil microbial biomass and demonstrate the differential impacts of soil texture on fungal and bacterial communities in alkaline permafrost-affected regions.

PMID:36578569 | PMC:PMC9791195 | DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2022.1007194


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