Microbes participated in macrophyte leaf litters decomposition in freshwater habitat

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Knowledge of aquatic microbes involved in macrophyte leaf litter decomposition is still scarce in freshwater lakes. In situ experiments (150 days) were conducted to study the decomposition processes of macrophyte leaf litters: Zizania latifolia (Zl), Hydrilla verticillata (Hv) and Nymphoides peltata (Np). The decomposition of Np leaf litter was fastest, whereas Zl was slowest. The alpha diversity of both bacterial and fungal communities significantly increased, and their community structures showed significant variations over time. For bacteria, the relative abundance of Gammaproteobacteria decreased, whereas that of Firmicutes, Betaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria increased. The dominant fungal phylum Cryptomycota increased significantly in all of the three macrophytes. Both bacteria and fungi were significantly correlated with the dynamics of total phosphorous in the water and the carbon content of the leaf litters. The dynamics of nitrogen content, phosphorous content and N/P ratio of the leaf litters have more influences on fungal communities than on bacteria. In addition, cellulase and xylanase activities were significantly correlated with bacterial and fungal communities, respectively, thereby reflecting the niches differentiation and cooperation between bacteria and fungi on litter decomposition. This work contributes to the understanding of microbially involved carbon and nutrient cycling in macrophyte-dominated freshwater ecosystems.

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