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Meta-analysis Of Heavy Metal Effects On Soil Enzyme Activities.

H. Aponte, Paula Meli, B. Butler, J. Paolini, Francisco Matus, C. Merino, P. Cornejo, Y. Kuzyakov
Published 2020 · Chemistry, Medicine

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Enzyme activities (EAs) respond to contamination in several ways depending on the chemical form and content of heavy metals and metalloids (HMs) and their interactions with various soil properties. A systematic and mechanistic understanding of EA responses to HM contamination in soil is necessary for predicting the consequences for nutrient availability and the cycling of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and sulphur (S). In this study, a meta-analysis based on 671 observations found the activities of seven enzymes to decrease in response to soil contamination with Pb, Zn, Cd, Cu and As. HM contamination linearly reduced the activities of all enzymes in the following order: arylsulfatase > dehydrogenase > β-glucosidase > urease > acid phosphatase > alkaline phosphatase > catalase. The activities of two endoenzymes: arylsulfatase (partly as exoenzyme) and dehydrogenase were reduced by 72% and 64%, respectively. These reductions were two times greater than of exoenzymes: β-glucosidase, urease, acid phosphatase, alkaline phosphatase and catalase (partly endoenzyme). This reflects the much stronger impact of HMs on living microorganisms and their endoenzymes than on extracellular enzymes stabilized on clay minerals and organic matter. Increasing clay content weakened the negative effects of HM contamination on EAs. All negative effects of HMs on EAs decreased with soil depth because HMs remain mainly in the topsoil. EAs involved in the cycling of C and S were more affected by HMs than the enzymes associated with the cycling of N and P. Consequently, HM contamination may alter the stoichiometry of C, N, P and S released by enzymatic decomposition of organic compounds that consequently affect microbial community structure and activity.
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