Microbial response to exudates in the rhizosphere of young beech trees (Fagus sylvatica L.) after dormancy

J. Esperschütz, F. Buegger, J. B. Winkler, J. C. Munch, M. Schloter, A. Gattinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Plants act as an important link between atmosphere and soil: CO2 is transformed into carbohydrates by photosynthesis. These assimilates are distributed within the plant and translocated via roots into the rhizosphere and soil microorganisms. In this study, 3 year old European beech trees (Fagus sylvatica L.) were exposed after the chilling period to an enriched 13C-CO2 atmosphere (δ13C = 60‰ - 80‰) at the time point when leaves development started. Temporal dynamics of assimilated carbon distribution in different plant parts, as well as into dissolved organic carbon and microbial communities in the rhizosphere and bulk soil have been investigated for a 20 days period. Photosynthetically fixed carbon could be traced into plant tissue, dissolved organic carbon and total microbial biomass, where it was utilized by different microbial communities. Due to carbon allocation into the rhizosphere, nutrient stress decreased; exudates were preferentially used by Gram-negative bacteria and (mycorrhizal) fungi, resulting in an enhanced growth. Other microorganisms, like Gram-positive bacteria and mainly micro eucaryotes benefited from the exudates via food web development. Overall our results indicate a fast turnover of exudates and the development of initial food web structures. Additionally a transport of assimilated carbon into bulk soil by (mycrorhizal) fungi was observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1976-1985
Number of pages10
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Beech
  • C
  • C dynamics
  • C labelling
  • Chilling
  • Dormancy
  • Microbial biomass
  • PLFA
  • Rhizodeposition
  • Rhizosphere


Dive into the research topics of 'Microbial response to exudates in the rhizosphere of young beech trees (Fagus sylvatica L.) after dormancy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this