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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 23 No. 3, p. 217-220
    Received: Aug 14, 1958
    Accepted: Sept 22, 1958

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Decomposition and Aggregating Effect of Fungus Cell Material in Soil1

  1. J. P. Martin,
  2. J. O. Ervin and
  3. R. A. Shepherd2



A study was made to compare the rate of decomposition and aggregating effect in soil of a variety of plant residues and fungus cell materials, and to study the influence of different fungus species and fungus cell constituents on soil aggregation. Based on CO2 evolution during incubation in soil, plant and fungus residues decomposed in the following order: light-colored fungi > dark-colored fungi = benzene-alcohol-extracted light-colored fungi > plant residues > benzene-alcohol-extracted dark-colored fungi. In all groups specific decomposition rates varied greatly. The soil-aggregating influence of all five groups varied over approximately the same range. The ether-soluble components of the fungus mycelium exerted a much greater binding action than the plant or whole fungus residues. In pure culture Epicoccum purpurascens was outstanding in its aggregating influence. Other effective species included Aspergillus versicolor, Diplodina sp., Pyrenochaeta sp., Stachybotrys atra, Stemphylium consortiale, and Volutella sp. A metabolic substance synthesized by E. purpurascens, crude polysaccharides from Phaeoscopulariopsis sp. and Acrotheca sp., and the alcohol-soluble constituents of S. atra exerted a marked binding action on the soil. The E. purpurascens product was very resistant to decomposition. Methyl alcohol-soluble material from Pullularia pullulans decomposed readily but exerted little binding action.

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