22 October 2013, two new papers on mofette microbial communities – a research paper in Soil Biology & Biochemistry and a review paper in Acta Agriculturae Slovenica

In October 2013 two papers on mofette microbial communities have been published on-line.

1) A paper by Nataša Šibanc, Alex J. Dumbrell, Ines Mandić-Mulec and Irena Maček in Soil Biology & Biochemistry  titled

Impacts of naturally elevated soil CO2 concentrations on communities of soil archaea and bacteria


There is a limited understanding of the importance of abiotic factors in regulating biodiversity and structure of many functionally important soil microbial communities. In this paper we present a molecular characterisation of archaeal and bacterial communities, exposed to long-term change in soil abiotic environment at natural CO2 springs (mofettes), using T-RFLP profiling and examination of 16S rRNA clone libraries. Our results show major shifts in archaeal and bacterial communities towards anaerobic and methanogenic taxa dominating in CO2 rich hypoxic soils with a significant increase in abundance of Methanomicrobia and predominantly anaerobic Chloroflexi and Firmicutes. O2 concentration in soil was consistently shown to be the strongest predictor of the compositional changes across both the archaeal and bacterial communities. However, soil pH and total N, were most important in separating the archaeal communities in transition and control zones, but not the bacterial communities. We conclude that geological CO2 induced hypoxia in mofette systems can cause major shifts in community composition of soil microbes that can generate significant implications for ecosystem functioning (e.g. nutrient cycling and CH4 production). Our data indicate that mofettes offer a good model system for studying the response of natural microbial communities to long-term environmental changes, which is urgently needed to address the bias towards macro-organisms in soil biodiversity research.

 2)  A review paper in Acta Agriculturae Slovenica (AAS)  by Irena Maček titled

A decade of research in mofette areas has given us new insights into adaptation of soil microorganisms to abiotic stress


A cluster of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal spores on the cover. Foto: Irena Maček


Natural CO2 springs (mofettes) represent extreme ecosystems with severe exhalations of ambient temperature geological CO2, inducing long-term soil hypoxia. In this paper an overview of mofette research in the fields of microbial ecology and biodiversity in presented, with a focus on the studies describing the impact of the changed soil gas regime on communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, archaea and bacteria. Along with the fast development of new, high- throughput molecular techniques driving the field of molecular ecology, mofettes enable new insights into the importance of the abiotic environmental factors in regulating soil biodiversity, and the community structure of these functionally important microbial groups.

Contact for reprints: irena.macek@bf.uni-lj.si.