The C and N transformations during decomposition over 26 d of root material from two lines of tobacco plants (Nicotiana tabacum L.) were compared in soil with or without earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris L.). The tobacco plants were either unmodified or genetically modified to reduce the activity of caffeic acid O-methyl transferase (COMT), which leads to plants with altered lignin structure and composition. In the absence of earthworms, C mineralization and net N immobilization were greater for the soil amended with reduced COMT roots than with the unmodified roots. In the presence of earthworms, C mineralization was still significantly greater for reduced COMT roots than for unmodified roots, but the difference was smaller, and the net N immobilization did not differ significantly between the two lines of plants.
- Genetic modification
- Microbial biomass
- Nitrogen immobilization/mineralization