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TitleCopper and zinc mixtures induce shifts in microbial communities and reduce leaf litter decomposition in streams
Author(s)Duarte, Sofia Alexandra Ferreira
Pascoal, Cláudia
Alves, Artur
Correia, António
Cássio, Fernanda
Leaf decomposition
Metal mixtures
Issue date2008
JournalFreshwater Biology
CitationDuarte, S., Pascoal, C., Alves, A., Correia, A., & Cassio, F. (2008). Copper and zinc mixtures induce shifts in microbial communities and reduce leaf litter decomposition in streams. Freshwater Biology, 53(1), 91-101
Abstract(s)1. To assess the impact of metal mixtures on microbial decomposition of leaf litter, we exposed leaves previously immersed in a stream to environmentally realistic concentrations of copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) (three levels), alone and in all possible combinations. The response of the microbial community was monitored after 10, 25 and 40 days of metal exposure by examining leaf mass loss, fungal and bacterial biomass, fungal reproduction and fungal and bacterial diversity.2. Analysis of microbial diversity, assessed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and identification of fungal spores, indicated that metal exposure altered the structure of fungal and bacterial communities on decomposing leaves.3. Exposure to metal mixtures or to the highest Cu concentration significantly reduced leaf decomposition rates and fungal reproduction, but not fungal biomass. Bacterial biomass was strongly inhibited by all metal treatments.4. The effects of Cu and Zn mixtures on microbial decomposition of leaf litter were mostly additive, because observed effects did not differ from those expected as the sum of single metal effects. However, antagonistic effects on bacterial biomass were found in all metal combinations and on fungal reproduction in metal combinations with the highest Cu concentrations, particularly at longer exposure times.
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