Warmer temperature increases metabolic processes and cell division but lowers protein synthesis in soil microbes
- Responses of soil microbes to global warming are important to conclude future soil-climate feedback; however, it is not well understood.
- Researchers investigated microbial physiological responses to medium-term and long-term subarctic grassland soil warming of +6°C.
- Medium-term is 8 years and long-term is more than 50 years.
- Researchers observed indications for a community-wide increase in central metabolic pathways and cellular replication.
- Additionally, researchers observed a reduction of bacterial protein biosynthesis machinery in the elevated temperature soils which occur at the same time with lower microbial biomass, RNA, and substrate content.
- Researchers concluded that the increased reaction rates at higher temperatures and the reduction of substrates triggered ribosome reduction.
- The ribosome is a macromolecular complex that carries protein synthesis.
- Another study involving short-term warming experiment of +6°C at 6 weeks further supported the conclusion.
- The reduction of protein biosynthesis machinery frees up energy and matter which allows soil microbes to continue a high metabolic process and cellular division even after years of increasing temperature.
Söllinger, A., et al. (2022). Down-regulation of the bacterial protein biosynthesis machinery in response to weeks, years, and decades of soil warming. Science Advances. https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abm3230