Advances in Earth Science ›› 2011, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (3): 332-338. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2011.03.0332

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The Nitrogenase Activity of Biological Soil Crusts and Their Responses to Environmental Factors

Su Yangui 1,2, Li Xinrong 2, Zhao Xin 2, Li Aixia 2,Chen Yingwu 3   

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresources in Arid Land, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi830011, China;
    2.Shapotou Desert Research and Experiment Station, Cold and Arid Regions and Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences,Lanzhou730000,China;
    3.Forestry Colleague of Henan University of Science and Technology, Luoyang471003, China
  • Received:2009-10-15 Revised:2010-09-16 Online:2011-03-10 Published:2011-03-10

Su Yangui, Li Xinrong, Zhao Xin, Li Aixia,Chen Yingwu. The Nitrogenase Activity of Biological Soil Crusts and Their Responses to Environmental Factors[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2011, 26(3): 332-338.

Acetylene reduction was employed to study the nitrogenase activity (NA) of three types of biological soil crusts (algal, moss and lichen crusts) and the responses of NA to precipitation (1 , 3 and 5 mm), light intensity (0, 400 and 1 000 μmol/(m2·s)) and air temperature (13, 24 and 28 ℃) were also investigated under the laboratory condition. Results showed that NA differed significantly among crusts, with highest value occurring for algal crusts (16.6 mmol/(m2·h)), followed by lichen (6.9 mmol/(m2·h)) and moss crusts(2.6 mmol/(m2·h)). Precipitation and temperature significantly affected the NA, while light intensity had no effect on NA. The 3 and 5 mm precipitations significantly activated NA compared with 1 mm precipitation. NA was profoundly enhanced under the air temperature of 24 ℃ compared with 13 ℃. Therefore, firstly, this study indicated that biological soil crusts have the capability of nitrogen fixation, especially the algal crusts, which contributed profoundly to the soil nitrogen input in the desert ecosystems; secondly, the precipitation and temperature are the regulating factors for NA.

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