Xin Peng and Mary Ann Bruns
Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, The Pennsylvania State University.
Presented at the All Scientist Meeting (2015-04-15 to 2015-04-16 )
Cyanobacteria are the principal microorganisms responsible for nitrogen fixation in biological soil crusts (BSCs). Direct application of N2-fixing cyanobacteria to agricultural soils could promote the development of BSCs forincreased biological N2fixation, enhanced soil stability, and reduced nutrient losses. Here we describe a system to select and evaluate cyanobacteria for their ability to form biofilms on soils. Cyanobacteria from local BSCs and commercial strains were tested on soils in laboratory microcosms under nitrogen-limited conditions. Biomass densities and stabilities of these BSCs were measured during the evaluation. The results show that BSCs formed by “Mixture DG” – a cyanobacterial enrichment obtained from local agricultural soil – have both high biomass density and crust stability, indicating good potential for use as a soil biofilm amendment. This protocol has yielded a high-performance candidate for future cyanobacterial applications and confirmed the utility of the evaluation system for selecting effective soil cyanobacteria as possible soil amendments.Get poster
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