Diversity and adaptation of soil fungi in an ecosystem with contamination originating from a phosphate fertilizer plant


  • U. Terpitz
  • E. Kothe


In the vicinity of a former phosphate fertilizer production plant, high phosphate contents with up to 463 mg phosphate per kilogram of soil dry matter were found 13 years after closing the plant while pH is only slightly elevated at pH 7 to 8. The deposited phosphate is seen to be moved to deeper soil horizons. The effect on soil microbiota was analyzed with respect to soil respiration, fungal biomass and cultivation of benomyl resistant and ligninolytic fungi. Increasing numbers and diversity of soil fungi were found with distance from the former emittent. This was confirmed by investigation of mycorrhization rates of mycotrophic, ectomycorrhizal birch trees. We tested for adaptation by growth and phosphate acquisition on soil extract media. The best growth was seen on the media containing highest phosphate concentrations showing no in vitro growth inhibition. In contrast to previous findings, however, more polyphosphate granula were seen on soil extract media from distant sites, although phosphate concentration was lowest in these media.