CEE Governor’s Chair for Environmental Microbiology, Terry Hazen, is a contributor to newly published research in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. The article is entitled, “Community proteogenomics reveals the systemic impact of phosphorus availability on microbial functions in tropical soil,” and shares results from a 17-year fertilization experiment in a tropical forest.
Among the research findings was that phosphorus deficiency enhanced the gene abundances of specific phosphatases for phytate, nucleic acids and phospholipids. This supports the hypothesis that phosphorus deficiency drives soil microbial communities to extract phosphorus from more recalcitrant substrates.
This result highlights the importance of microbial degradation of phytate—relative to other organic phosphorus compounds—in phosphorus-deficient soils, and provides a mechanism to explain low concentrations of phytate in lowland tropical forest soils.