Relationship between microbial biomass and extracellular enzymes: a study of Pachamalai forested streams

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K. Valarmathy, R. Stephan, B.K.Manjunath


In forest environments, aquatic micro fungi play a critical role in organic matter breakdown. These microorganisms break down refractory substances like lignin, allowing the microbial population to effectively use organic material. In Pachamalai rainforest streams, the primary inflow of allochthonous organic materials occurs in the autumn and is enriched with luxurious microbiota.Our study aimed to determine the relationship between microbial biomass and extracellular enzymes from the streams of Pachamalai forests. The physicochemical properties of leaves and the activity of the microbial flora on the organic matter degradation were also determined.The C: N, C: P, and N: P biofilm molar ratios were calculated based on the total N, P, and C contents of two leaves species viz. Morinda tinctoria and Pongamia pinnata eaves. The hydrolytic and oxidative enzyme activity of the leaf substrata was analysed by earlier know methods.Morinda tinctoria leaves had a faster breakdown with a decrease in leaf toughness relative to P. pinnata. Extracellular enzyme assays revealed that M. tinctoria had higher hydrolytic enzyme activity when compared to P. pinnata.From our study, it is conclusive that the microbiota associated with both the leaf species have significant extracellular enzymatic activity in degrading the polysaccharides and lignin. This plays a significant role in the stream biota and influences the ecosystem.

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