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Molecular interactions of the plant-soil-microbe continuum of bioenergy ecosystems

This research aims to reveal the microbial mechanisms that regulate carbon (C) stabilization in soils dedicated to biofuel crops, and test identified mechanisms in ecosystem-scale field experiments. Emerging evidence suggests that dead microbial biomass, or necromass, constitutes a significant fraction of soil organic matter. Although microbial necromass stabilization is frequently invoked as a mechanisms for long-term soil C storage, there remains limited empirical data illustrating the complement of molecules that comprise microbially derived soil organic C.

Alternative Biomass Cropping Systems & Microbial Processes

A critical gap in making progress toward ecologically beneficial farming practices is an explicit understanding of how soils store carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) over the long term. Farmers are facing new challenges that require management practices for improving soil quality, increasing both belowground (live roots) and aboveground (live cover) biomass, increasing soil organic matter, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To identify optimal man¬agement strategies, an understanding of microbial processes that regulate C and N cycling is essential.

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