Plants increase laccase activity in soil with long-term elevated CO2 legacy

Asrin Partavian, Teis Nørgaard Mikkelsen, Mette Vestergård

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Actively growing plants can stimulate mineralization of recalcitrant soil organic matter (SOM), and increased atmospheric [CO2] can further enhance such plant-mediated SOM degradation. Laccases are central for recalcitrant SOM decomposition, and we therefore hypothesized that plants and elevated [CO2] stimulate laccase activity. We incubated soil exposed to seven years of elevated or ambient field [CO2] in ambient or elevated [CO2] chambers for six months either with or without plants (Deschampsia flexuosa). Elevated chamber [CO2] increased D. flexuosa production and belowground respiration. Interestingly, plants also grew larger in soil with an elevated [CO2] legacy. Plants stimulated soil microbial biomass, belowground respiration and laccase activity, and the plant-induced laccase stimulation was particularly apparent in soil exposed to long-term elevated [CO2] in the field, whereas laccase activity was unaffected by short-term chamber [CO2]. Hence, actively growing plants can stimulate laccase activity, but the potential for plant-induced laccase production appears to depend on the laccase production potential of the soil. Further, initial differences in laccase production potential prevailed during the six months experimental period independent of current [CO2], although plant production increased at elevated [CO2] during this period. Taken together, these findings suggest that although laccase activity depends on plant presence, the laccase production potential does not respond fast to increased plant production.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Soil Biology
Pages (from-to)97-103
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Global change
  • Ligninolytic enzymes
  • Plant-soil interactions
  • Rhizodeposition
  • Root exudation


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