Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Drought-exposed leaves adversely affect soil nutrients, study shows

06.04.2011
Chemical changes in tree leaves subjected to warmer, drier conditions that could result from climate change may reduce the availability of soil nutrients, according to a Purdue University study.

Jeff Dukes, an associate professor of forestry and natural resources, found that red maple leaves accumulate about twice as much tannin when exposed to hot, droughtlike conditions. Those tannins, which defend leaves from herbivores and pathogens, were shown to interfere with the function of common enzymes in soil.

"When the leaves are particularly water-stressed by drought or drought with higher temperatures, we see more protective compounds, more tannins and a change in the chemistry of the tannins," said Dukes, whose findings were published in the early online version of the journal New Phytologist. "This suggests that when these leaves fall, they may slow down soil processes such as decomposition and nutrient cycling. This could, in turn, affect plant growth and nutrient uptake."

The findings are the first for the Boston Area Climate Experiment, a National Science Foundation-funded project that Dukes directs. Plants on several field plots are exposed to various future climate scenarios using heaters and other means to control conditions.

"We've basically built a big time machine that moves different plots of land into different possible futures by changing temperatures and precipitation levels," Dukes said.

The increase in leaf tannins observed in this experiment could cause leaves to decompose more slowly and also interfere with critical soil enzymes, leaving fewer nutrients for plants. The tannins in the red maple leaves also were chemically different, making them interact more strongly with the soil enzymes.

Dukes said the tannin issue could effect a sort of tug-of-war in the carbon cycle. With fewer nutrients, plants would take carbon dioxide out of the air more slowly. But if fallen leaves are decomposing slower, then the carbon would be released back to the atmosphere more slowly.

"This is an issue that could affect many natural processes," Dukes said. "We just don't know what the net result will be."

In this experiment, leaves were removed from the experiment plots and tested in laboratories. Dukes said he would next test other plants' leaves exposed to similar conditions to see how their tannins are affected. He also will test his findings in the field to see how an increase in tannins affects soil in a natural setting.

The work was carried out in collaboration Nishanth Tharayil at Clemson University, as well as researchers at Purdue, Clemson University, the University of Massachusetts Boston and Natural Resources Canada.

Writer: Brian Wallheimer, 765-496-2050, bwallhei@purdue.edu
Source: Jeff Dukes, 765-494-1446, jsdukes@purdue.edu
Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
Agriculture News Page

Brian Wallheimer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>