Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 1490–1498 | Cite as

Effects of yak excreta on soil organic carbon mineralization and microbial communities in alpine wetlands of southwest of China

  • Shuangyuan Liu
  • Rongbo Zheng
  • Xuelian GuoEmail author
  • Xue Wang
  • Li Chen
  • Yawen Hou
Soils, Sec 5 • Soil and Landscape Ecology • Research Article



Improving knowledge of how soil organic carbon (SOC) mineralization responds to excreta application is essential to better understand whether wetland carbon (C) pools will react to grazing. We investigated microbial activity and community structure in the different treatments of excreta addition experiments to examine how soil C mineralization responds to the excreta input in terms of microbial activities and compositions in wetland soils.

Materials and methods

The microcosms of mineralization incubation of excreta addition were established. The structure of the microbial community was described by the fatty acid composition of the phospholipids (PLFA). The methylumbelliferyl-linked substrates (MUB) and l-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) substrates were used to investigate the activities of β-glucosidase (BG), N-acetyl-glucosaminidase (NAG), acid phosphatase (AP), cellobiohydrolase (CBH), and phenol oxidase (PO).

Results and discussion

Excreta addition altered the cumulative C mineralization in swamp meadow (SM) and peatland (PL) soils, but SM was lower than PL. Excreta addition increased the biomass of individual PLFA and the fungi/bacteria ratio, suggesting that microbes are stimulated by nutrients and that the soil microbial community composition is modified by excreta inputs. The hydrolytic enzyme activities were higher in the PL soils than in the SM soils, but the trend was opposite for PO activity. The changes in pH, fungi, actinomycetes (ACT), AP, and CBH after yak fecal input significantly influenced the soil CO2 efflux. Our findings suggest that yak grazing could influence the rate of C cycling in wetland soils by influencing microbial communities, enzyme activities, and soil pH.


This study suggest that the yak excreta addition increased cumulative C mineralization in SM and PL soils, and the effect of dung addition was more significant than urine addition. The effect of yak excreta addition on SOC mineralization was related with the soil pH, microorganism structure, and enzyme activity which modified by the excreta addition. Soil pH, fungi, AP, and CBH were positively correlated with SOC mineralization, but ACT was negatively correlated with SOC mineralization. In addition, the changes in C and N sources with yak excreta addition play an important role in altering microbial enzyme activities. The input of yak feces into wetlands because of grazing could increase SOC mineralization and thereby promote C emission.


Alpine wetlands Enzyme activity Microbial community SOC mineralization Yak excreta 



We are grateful Liping Li for their help when collecting and analyzing soil samples and Jia Xiong for their assistance in the analysis of soil microbial community composition.

Funding information

This work is financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41563008).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shuangyuan Liu
    • 1
  • Rongbo Zheng
    • 2
  • Xuelian Guo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xue Wang
    • 1
  • Li Chen
    • 1
  • Yawen Hou
    • 1
  1. 1.National Plateau Wetlands Research CenterSouthwest Forestry UniversityKunmingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Chemical Engineering CollegeSouthwest Forestry UniversityKunmingPeople’s Republic of China

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