Increased plant productivity and decreased microbial respiratory C loss can potentially mitigate increasing atmospheric CO2, but we currently lack effective means to achieve these goals.
Soil microbes may play critical roles in mediating plant productivity and soil C/N dynamics under future climate scenarios of elevated CO2 (eCO2) through optimizing functioning of the root-soil interface.
By using a labeling technique with 13C and 15N, we examined the effects of plant growth-promoting Pseudomonas fluorescens on C and N cycling in the rhizosphere of a common grass species under eCO2.
These microbial inoculants were shown to increase plant productivity. Although strong competition for N between the plant and soil microbes was observed, the plant can increase its capacity to store more biomass C per unit of N under P. fluorescens addition.
Unlike eCO2 effects, P. fluorescens inoculants did not change mass-specific microbial respiration and accelerate soil decomposition related to N cycling, suggesting these microbial inoculants mitigated positive feedbacks of soil microbial decomposition to eCO2.
The potential to mitigate climate change by optimizing soil microbial functioning by plant growth-promotingPseudomonas fluorescens is a prospect for ecosystem management.