Long-term phosphorus addition downregulate microbial investments on enzyme productions in a mature tropical forest

  • Cong Wang
  • Taiki Mori
  • Qinggong Mao
  • Kaijun Zhou
  • Zhuohang Wang
  • Yongqun Zhang
  • Hui Mo
  • Xiankai LuEmail author
  • Jiangming Mo
Soils, Sec 4 • Ecotoxicology • Research Article



Phosphorus (P) addition could largely alter soil microbial activity. However, effects of long-term P addition on soil extracellular enzyme activity are not well understood in tropical forests.

Materials and methods

To address this question, we measured absolute activities (activity per unit of dry soil) and specific activities (activity per unit of microbial biomass carbon) of enzymes involved in carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and P cycling in a 10-year P addition experimental site in a tropical forest.

Results and discussion

Phosphorus addition decreased acid phosphatase absolute and specific activity by 37% and 47%, respectively. As to N-acquisition enzymes, P addition increased leucine amino peptidase absolute activity but decreased β-1,4-N-acetylglucosaminidase absolute activity by 33%. Meanwhile, P addition had no effects on leucine amino peptidase specific activity but decreased β-1,4-N-acetylglucosaminidase specific activity by 43%. Among C-acquisition enzymes, cellobiohydrolase, α-glucosidase, and β-glycosidase absolute and specific activities showed no significant responses to P addition, while P addition decreased β-xylosidase absolute and specific activity by 15% and 27% respectively. Phosphorus addition also decreased phenol oxidase absolute activity by 30% and peroxidase absolute activity by 29%.


These results suggest a strong P shortage for microorganisms and that P addition could decline microbial productions of enzymes in phosphorus-poor tropical forests. Results from this study emphasize again the important role of available P in tropical forests.


Enzyme activity Phosphorus addition Phosphorus availability Phosphorus limitation Tropical forest 



We wish to thank Shaoming Cai and Yongxing Li for their assistance in field work. We also thank Xiaoping Pan and Xiaoying You for their help in laboratory work.

Funding information

This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41731176, 41473112), the National Basic Research Program of China (2014CB954400), and Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS (No. 2015287).

Supplementary material

11368_2019_2450_MOESM1_ESM.docx (34 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 34 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cong Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Taiki Mori
    • 1
    • 3
  • Qinggong Mao
    • 1
  • Kaijun Zhou
    • 4
  • Zhuohang Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yongqun Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hui Mo
    • 1
  • Xiankai Lu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jiangming Mo
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Vegetation Restoration and Management of Degraded Ecosystems and Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Applied Botany, South China Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Forest Site EnvironmentForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukubaJapan
  4. 4.Institute of Agricultural Resources and EnvironmentGuangdong Academy of Agricultural SciencesGuangzhouChina

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