Submitted to: Advances in Agroecology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/4/2004
Publication Date: 5/26/2004
Citation: Nichols, K.A., Wright, S.E. 2004. Contributions of soil fungi to organic matter in agricultural soils. In: Magdoff, F. and Weil R., editors. Functions and Management of Soil Organic Matter in Agroecosystems. Washington D.C.:CRC Press. p. 179-198. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Soil fungi are important agents of decomposition, pathogenicity and plant and soil health. Various methods to estimate fungal biomass are discussed because contributions to ecosystem function are difficult to quantify due to limitations inherent in currently used methods. Groups of fungi: decomposers, fungal plant pathogens, and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), are discussed briefly for their role in agroecosystems. The importance of AMF to agroecosystems is discussed in depth because of this group's copious production of glomalin. Pools of glomalin in soil are defined operationally by extraction methods. Results of an experiment to determine depth of production and deposition of glomalin are presented. Greater than 1.5 mg of glomalin was produced by a single clover plant over 3 months. Greater than 50% of the glomalin produced by this plant was unattached to hyphae and had moved through sand. These results indicate the movement and glue-like characteristic of glomalin that are important for soil stabilization. The contribution of soil fungi to organic matter is summarized.