Are phenolic compounds released from the Mediterranean shrub Cistus albidus responsible for changes in N cycling in siliceous and calcareous soils?

Eva Castells, Josep Peñuelas, David W. Valentine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We studied the effects of Cistus albidus leaf leachates on nitrogen-cycling processes in two siliceous soils (granite and schist) and one calcareous soil. We compared those effects with gross N-transformation rates in soils sampled underneath Cistus. Soils amended with leachates and soils sampled under Cistus had higher NH4+ immobilization and lower nitrification compared with control soils. Gross N mineralization increased under Cistus but decreased in soils amended with leachates. These effects were especially strong in granite soil. To determine whether phenolic compounds were causing those effects, we incubated granite soils with leachate and a leachate fraction containing only nonphenolic compounds. Nonphenolic compounds increased NH4+ immobilization and decreased gross nitrification, while decreases in gross N mineralization were estimated to be caused by phenolic compounds. Our results show that although phenolic compounds leached from green foliage changed gross N mineralization, their effects on net N rates were eclipsed by the changes produced by polar nonphenolic compounds such as carbohydrates. Plant nonphenolic compounds may drive N cycling under Cistus. © New Phytologist (2004).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-195
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume162
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2004

Keywords

  • 15 N isotope dilution
  • Calcareous soils
  • Cistus albidus
  • Mediterranean vegetation
  • N cycling
  • N immobilization
  • Phenolics
  • Siliceous soils

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