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University of Arizona (1983)

MICROBIAL PRODUCTION OF ETHYLENE IN DESERT SOILS

BABIKER, HASHIM MAHMOUD

Titre : MICROBIAL PRODUCTION OF ETHYLENE IN DESERT SOILS.

Auteur : BABIKER, HASHIM MAHMOUD.

Université de soutenance : University of Arizona.

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 1983

Résumé
Ethylene (C₂H₄) production was monitored in twelve desert soils incubated moist at constant temperature for various incubation periods. In all but two soils with high organic matter content, C₂H₄ production was low. Statistical analysis showed a good correlation between organic matter content and C₂H₄ production. Minimum levels of C₂H₄ were observed in saline and sodic soils. Adding ethanol, glucose, glycerol and methionine to soil samples significantly increased C₂H₄ formation. Methionine induced the highest level of C₂H₄ in all soils tested. Increased concentrations of methionine resulted in further significant increases in C₂H₄ production possibly indicating its role as a precursor for C₂H₄. Chloramphenicol did not have a significant effect except in a saline soil suggesting that bacterial C₂H₄ production is of less significance in the other soils. The addition of salts to the high C₂H₄ producing soils suppressed C₂H₄ production most likely because of a direct effect on C₂H₄ producing microorganisms through toxic salt levels, high osmotic pressure and/or increased pH. Leaching of four saline soils and subsequent incubation resulted in significant increases in C₂H₄ in two soils. Ethylene producers, previously inhibited by salinity, were probably reactivated when the salts were removed. A Fusarium isolate obtained from the highest C₂H₄ producing soil, produced the most C₂H₄ in pure culture followed by isolates belonging to the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium, Curvillaria, and Rhizopus. In a comparative study, a number of species, some of which were known to produce C₂H₄, were tested in culture media. Nine species produced C₂H₄ in varying amounts of which Penicillium digitatum produced the highest concentration. A sterilized saline soil produced significant C₂H₄ when inoculated with spores of Mucor hiemalis and the Fusarium isolate, 5 to 14 times that in non-sterilized soil probably indicating an originally low population of C₂H₄ producing organisms. The amounts of C₂H₄ produced in sterilized inoculated mollisol and garden soils were only a fraction of that produced in non-sterilized samples probably indicating the involvement of a number of species in the production of C₂H₄ in these soils.

Mots Clés : Ethylene. — Soils — Organic compound content — Arizona. — Humus — Arizona.

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