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Manganese uptake by red maples in response to mineral dissolution rates in soil...

by Sydney Kruse, Carla Rosenfeld, Elizabeth M Herndon
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Manganese (Mn) is an essential plant micronutrient that influences photosynthesis, ecosystem productivity, and soil carbon storage. Our objective was to quantify how Mn uptake by forest vegetation relates to Mn release into soil solution through mineral dissolution. A greenhouse pot experiment was conducted to quantify Mn uptake by red maple saplings as a function of mineral solubility to test whether Mn uptake was limited by the supply of Mn to soil solution. Differences in soil microbial community composition between treatments, particularly amongst Mn cycling bacteria and fungi, were also evaluated to assess potential microbial impacts on observed Mn fluxes. Plant Mn uptake was highest in systems supplied with dissolved Mn(II) because it was not kinetically limited by mineral weathering. Mn uptake was also higher in systems supplied with a fast-weathering substrate (shale containing Mn(II)-bearing pyrite) than a slow-weathering substrate (Mn(IV)-oxide). However, vegetation accumulated a decreasing proportion of available Mn with increasing solubility, indicating that uptake was tempered relative to solubility. The presence of bacterial phyla containing known Mn-oxidizing bacteria indicates the potential for Mn-oxidizing bacteria to influence Mn solubility within Mn-oxide and dissolved Mn treatments. A relatively low abundance of these bacteria points to their limited capacity to oxidize and retain Mn in the shale treatments, consistent with substantial Mn leaching. We conclude that Mn uptake was primarily controlled by dissolution rates of Mn-bearing minerals but modified by biological processes. The quantitative framework presented here can guide understanding of how biogeochemical processes control element cycling between plants and soils.