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CO2 Impacts on the Rhizosphere Microbial Community of Korean Red Pine

Paper Reviewed
Lee, H., Lee, W.Y. and Kang, J.W. 2021. Effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on rhizosphere microbial community of Pinus densiflora (Korean red pin). Forest Science and Technology,

Introducing their work, Lee et al. (2021) note the soil rhizosphere "contains a diverse and complex microbial structure and a community critical for the health of plants and the processing of soil organic matter." Nevertheless, they say that "despite the abundance and importance of soil microorganisms for key forest ecosystem functions, the effects of elevated CO2 on rhizosphere microbial communities in trees have not been well characterized." And so it was that the three Korean researchers set out to remedy this situation.

As their contribution to the topic, Lee et al. examined the impacts of elevated CO2 on the taxonomical diversity, composition and structure of rhizosphere microbial communities of Korean red pine (Pinus densiflora), which tree species they say is one of the most economically and culturally important species in Korea. The work was conducted at a long-term open-top chamber study site located in Korea (37.25°N, 136.95°E), where trees were subjected to one of three CO2 concentrations: ~400 ppm (ambient), 560 ppm, or 680 ppm. In the seventh year of the study the authors performed next-generation sequencing of 16S rRNA genes on rhizosphere soil samples from each CO2 treatment to determine the effects of CO2 on microbial species richness and diversity.

The results of the analyses revealed "exposure to elevated CO2 altered the microbial populations and diversity" such that "bacterial diversity and richness significantly increased as CO2 concentration increased (p < .01)." Such positive findings, in the words of the authors, should aid Korean red pine growth in the future via the "improvement of soil bacterial communities," providing "a strategy to cope with climate change."

Posted 5 April 2021