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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Elemental stoichiometry of fungi and bacteria strains from grassland leaf litter

  • Author(s): Mouginot, C
  • Kawamura, R
  • Matulich, KL
  • Berlemont, R
  • Allison, SD
  • Amend, AS
  • Martiny, AC
  • et al.

In most terrestrial environments, our knowledge of the elemental composition and stoichiometry of microorganisms stems from indirect whole community analyses. In contrast, we have little direct knowledge of the elemental composition of specific microorganisms and the variation between and within Fungi and Bacteria. To address this issue, we isolated and identified the elemental content of 87 strains of Fungi and Bacteria isolated from grassland leaf litter. The isolated strains were affiliated with a broad range of diversity including Ascomycota and Basidiomycota for Fungi, and Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria for Bacteria. The C:P and C:N but not N:P ratios were significantly higher in Fungi than in Bacteria. Extensive strain variation in elemental composition was partly linked to phylogeny and growth rate. Across all strains, the geometric mean C:N:P was 88:15:1. This overall ratio was significantly higher than reported for other leaf litter and terrestrial whole communities but closer to the canonical Redfield ratio characterizing marine microorganisms. This result warrants further investigation into the discrepancy between whole community and isolated strain elemental ratios. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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