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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

The Relation of Plant Maturity to the Type of Organisms Predominant in Plant Decomposition1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 3 No. C, p. 180-182

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  1. D. W. McKinstry,
  2. D. E. Haley and
  3. J. J. Reid2



A characteristic flora was found on the leaves of growing cigar-leaf tobacco. A similar flora was found on red clover.

The predominant forms found upon the growing plant were Gram-negative rods. Aerobic spore-formers, micrococci and fungi could always be demonstrated though present in relatively small numbers.

Decomposition of green tobacco was found to be associated with the activities of the Gram-negative rods.

Immature cigar-leaf harvested late in the season was found to be generally characterized by a Gram negative decomposition in any attempt at fermentation. Immature cigarleaf harvested early in the season and cured during the late summer was found to ordinarily develop a Gram-positive flora and ferment satisfactorily.

Mature leaf improperly cured was found to develop a satisfactory Gram-positive flora in some cases, and a Gram-negative flora in others.

Both maturity and cure seem important in the change of the substrate from a type favoring the development of Gram-negative rods to a type permitting the development of Gram-positive organisms.

Soluble carbohydrates and high protein content were found to be associated with Gram-negative development.

Absence of soluble carbohydrates, reduced protein content, and a high content of fixed acids and amides were chemical characteristics found associated with the development of a Gram-positive flora.

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