Significance of earthworms in stimulating soil microbial activity View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:ScholarlyArticle     


Article Info

DATE

1998-05

AUTHORS

F. Binet, L. Fayolle, M. Pussard, J. J. Crawford, S. J. Traina, O. H. Tuovinen

ABSTRACT

The stimulatory effect of earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris L.) on soil microbial activity was studied under microcosm-controlled conditions. The hypothesis was tested that microbial stimulation observed in the presence of a soil invertebrate would be due to the utilization of additional nutritive substances (secretion and excretion products) that it provides. Changes in microbial activity were monitored by measuring simultaneously CO2 release and protozoan population density. The increase in CO2 released in the presence of earthworms was found to result from both earthworm respiration and enhanced microbial respiration. The stimulation of microbial activity was confirmed by a significant increase in protozoan population density, which was 3–19 times greater in the presence of earthworms. The respiratory rate of L. terrestris was estimated to be 53 μl O2 g–1 h–1. Earthworm respiration significantly correlated with individual earthworm weight, but there was no correlation between the increase in microbial respiration and earthworm weight. This finding does not support the hypothesis given above that enhanced microbial respiration is due to utilization of earthworm excreta. A new hypothesis that relationships between microbial activity and earthworms are not based on trophic links alone but also on catalytic mechanisms is proposed and discussed. More... »

PAGES

79-84

Identifiers

URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1007/s003740050403

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s003740050403

DIMENSIONS

https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1011961807


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