Increased plant productivity and decreased microbial respiratory C loss by plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria under elevated CO2

Ming Nie*, Colin Bell, Matthew D. Wallenstein, Elise Pendall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)
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Increased plant productivity and decreased microbial respiratory C loss can potentially mitigate increasing atmospheric CO2, but we currently lack effective means to achieve these goals. Soil microbes may play critical roles in mediating plant productivity and soil C/N dynamics under future climate scenarios of elevated CO2 (eCO(2)) through optimizing functioning of the root-soil interface. By using a labeling technique with C-13 and N-15, we examined the effects of plant growth-promoting Pseudomonas fluorescens on C and N cycling in the rhizosphere of a common grass species under eCO(2). These microbial inoculants were shown to increase plant productivity. Although strong competition for N between the plant and soil microbes was observed, the plant can increase its capacity to store more biomass C per unit of N under P. fluorescens addition. Unlike eCO(2) effects, P. fluorescens inoculants did not change mass-specific microbial respiration and accelerate soil decomposition related to N cycling, suggesting these microbial inoculants mitigated positive feedbacks of soil microbial decomposition to eCO(2). The potential to mitigate climate change by optimizing soil microbial functioning by plant growth-promoting Pseudomonas fluorescens is a prospect for ecosystem management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9212
Number of pages6
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder in order to reproduce the material.

We thank Drs. Yolima Carrillo and Feike Dijkstra for providing experimental facilities. We also thank Dr. Marcus Brock and Mark Schimelpfenig for laboratory assistance. This material is based upon work supported by the US Department of Agriculture, US Department of Energy's Office of Science (BER), through the Terrestrial Ecosystem Science program, and by the National Science Foundation (DEB# 1021559). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


  • arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • soil organic-matter
  • semiarid grassland
  • climate-change
  • carbon-dioxide
  • genetic architecture
  • community structure
  • atmospheric CO2
  • N availability
  • tree roots


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