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  • 1. Rosling, A.
    et al.
    Suttle, K. B.
    Johansson, E.
    van Hees, Patrick A. W.
    Örebro University, Department of Natural Sciences.
    Banfield, J. F.
    Phosphorous availability influences the dissolution of apatite by soil fungi2007In: Geobiology, ISSN 1472-4677, E-ISSN 1472-4669, Vol. 5, no 3, p. 265-280Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Apatite (Ca-10(PO4)(6)(OH,F,Cl)(2)) is the primary inorganic source of phosphorus in the biosphere. Soil fungi are known to increase plant-available phosphorus by promoting dissolution of various phosphate minerals. Yet no apatite dissolution studies exist using fungi as weathering agents, and regulation of fungal weathering activity in response to different levels of phosphorus availability is largely unknown. Fungi were isolated from a grassland soil in northern California. Three pathways of tri-calcium phosphate (Ca-3(PO4)(2)) (TCP) dissolution in liquid culture were identified among biogeochemically active fungi: (1) acidification (pH 3.3 +/- 0.16), (2) moderate acidification (pH 4.9 +/- 0.11) and (3) no acidification. Isolates representing pathway 1 and 2 were Zygomycetes in the order of Mucorales. All non-acidifying isolates in pathway 3 were Ascomycetes and cleared the media by altering TCP into hydroxyapatite (Ca-10(PO4)(6)(OH)(2)) and sequestering it within mycelial spheres. One isolate representing each pathway was used in fluorapatite dissolution experiments either with the fungi present or under abiotic conditions using cell-free liquid media conditioned by fungal growth at different phosphorus and calcium availabilities. Both Mucorales isolates acidify their substrate when growing in the presence of phosphorus. Mucorales exudates were mainly oxalic acid, and conditioned cell-free media with phosphorus induced fluorapatite dissolution at a rate of 10(-0.9 +/- 0.14) and 10(-1.2 +/- 0.22) mu mol P m(-2) s(-1). The ascomycete isolate on the other hand, induced fluorapatite dissolution at a rate of 10(-1.1 +/- 0.05) mu mol P m(-2) s(-1) by lowering the pH of the media under phosphorus-limited conditions, without producing significant amounts of low molecular weight organic acids (LMWOAs). Oxalate strongly etches fluorapatite along channels parallel to [001], forming needle-like features, while exudates from the ascomycete-induced surface rounding. We conclude that while LMWOAs are well-studied weathering agents, these do not appear to be produced by fungi in response to phosphorus-limiting growth conditions.

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