Presentation Title

Enzyme Activity of Decomposing Leaf Litter in Different Landscapes of CSUSM

Faculty Mentor

George Vourlitis

Start Date

23-11-2019 10:45 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 11:30 AM

Location

120

Session

poster 4

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

One of the largest fluxes of carbon to the atmosphere is caused by litter decomposition and soil respiration. These processes are heavily affected by urban landscape modifications due to the modified moisture, species composition, and the microbial community. The enzymes that are produced and released by microbes decompose organic matter into useful forms for the microbes. We tested the changing activity of beta-glucosidase, an enzyme associated with the early stages of decomposition, and peroxidase, an enzyme used by cells to break down more organized carbon structures like lignin. We hypothesized that the activity of peroxidase would be higher in the more highly structured Sycamore litter and the activity of beta glucosidase would be higher in the oak litter. We placed eight litter bags each of Sycamore and Oak leaves across five different locations across the CSUSM campus and left them to decompose for three months. Once we collected the litter bags, the litter was collected from the bags and an enzyme assay for the two enzymes being analyzed was performed. The enzyme activity was quantified spectrophotometrically with a 96 well plate reader and the data was converted to nM/g*h for our analysis. We found that there was a significant litter vs site interaction for both beta-glucosidase and peroxidase. The oak litter was found to have higher activity than sycamore for both enzymes as well as the oak activity being strongly correlated to the mass loss of the litter.

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Nov 23rd, 10:45 AM Nov 23rd, 11:30 AM

Enzyme Activity of Decomposing Leaf Litter in Different Landscapes of CSUSM

120

One of the largest fluxes of carbon to the atmosphere is caused by litter decomposition and soil respiration. These processes are heavily affected by urban landscape modifications due to the modified moisture, species composition, and the microbial community. The enzymes that are produced and released by microbes decompose organic matter into useful forms for the microbes. We tested the changing activity of beta-glucosidase, an enzyme associated with the early stages of decomposition, and peroxidase, an enzyme used by cells to break down more organized carbon structures like lignin. We hypothesized that the activity of peroxidase would be higher in the more highly structured Sycamore litter and the activity of beta glucosidase would be higher in the oak litter. We placed eight litter bags each of Sycamore and Oak leaves across five different locations across the CSUSM campus and left them to decompose for three months. Once we collected the litter bags, the litter was collected from the bags and an enzyme assay for the two enzymes being analyzed was performed. The enzyme activity was quantified spectrophotometrically with a 96 well plate reader and the data was converted to nM/g*h for our analysis. We found that there was a significant litter vs site interaction for both beta-glucosidase and peroxidase. The oak litter was found to have higher activity than sycamore for both enzymes as well as the oak activity being strongly correlated to the mass loss of the litter.