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 Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>