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Soil Cyanobacterial Mineral Elements Do Not Follow “Restrictive Element Stability Hypothesis” TEXT SIZE: A A A
Nostoc commune is a traditional food in China, East Asia, and some African countries. It is also a great candidate to study soil microbial geography and biochemical composition and mineral elements at the species level.
Researchers from Systems Ecology Group of Wuhan Botanical Garden focused on 15 mineral elements of N. commune and investigated the geographical variation of mineral elements of soil microorganisms at the species level in mainland China.  
Five elements (P, Cu, Zn, Co, Pb) showed significant geographical variation, which increased with the increase of the distance from the equator, and decreased with the increase of the distance from the prime meridian. 
Climate factors (mean annual precipitation and mean annual temperature) explained most of the variation. Except for P, the other mineral elements in N. commune had no significant correlations with the minerals in soil and rainfall.  
The variation coefficients of different elements were not significantly correlated with their measured contents and their potential physiological required contents. This mismatching of mineral variation coefficients of Nostoc with their potential physiological required contents do not support the “restrictive element stability hypothesis” of higher plants.  
Researchers speculate that the increase in mineral elements or ash may signal that N. commune has an adaptation mechanism for drought and low temperature environments.
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the results have been published in Frontiers in Microbiology entitled "Geographical Variability of Mineral Elements and Stability of Restrictive Mineral Elements in Terrestrial Cyanobacteria Across Gradients of Climate, Soil, and Atmospheric Wet Deposition Mineral Concentration”.

N. commune in China. (Image by WANG Weibo)


           The schematic diagram showing environmental factors control the mineral patterns of N. commune (Image by WANG Weibo)
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