Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Root Traits and Architecture Affect Standard Litter Decomposition: A Comparative Study on Five Plant Species

Version 1 : Received: 27 August 2020 / Approved: 28 August 2020 / Online: 28 August 2020 (08:14:25 CEST)

How to cite: Sofo, A.; Elshafie, H.S.; Camele, I. Root Traits and Architecture Affect Standard Litter Decomposition: A Comparative Study on Five Plant Species. Preprints 2020, 2020080624 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202008.0624.v1). Sofo, A.; Elshafie, H.S.; Camele, I. Root Traits and Architecture Affect Standard Litter Decomposition: A Comparative Study on Five Plant Species. Preprints 2020, 2020080624 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202008.0624.v1).

Abstract

Plants are affected by soil environments to the same extent they affect soil functioning through interactions between environmental and genetic factors. Here, five plant species (broad bean, pea, cabbage, fennel, and olive) grown under controlled pot conditions were tested for their ability to differently stimulate the degradation of standard litter. Litter, soil C and N contents and soil microbial abundance were measured. The architecture and morphological traits of roots systems were also evaluated by using specific open-source software (SmartRoot). Soil chemical and microbiological characteristics were significantly influenced by the plant species. Variations in soil C/N dynamics were correlated with the diversity of root traits among species. Early-stage decomposition of the standard litter changed on the basis of the plant species. The results indicated that key soil processes are governed by interactions between plant roots, soil C and N, and the microbial metabolism that stimulate decomposition reactions. This, in turn, can have marked effects on soil chemical and microbiological fertility, both fundamental for sustaining crops, and can promote the development of new approaches for optimizing soil C and N cycling, managing nutrient transport, and sustaining and improving net primary production.

Subject Areas

litter decomposition; root development and morphology; root-soil continuum; soil C/N; tea bags; telluric microorganisms

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