Haoyang Shen*, Yutaka Shiratori*, Sayuri Ohta, Yoko Masuda, Kazuo Isobe and Keishi Senoo


Nitrous oxide (N2O) is an important greenhouse gas and an ozone-depleting substance. Due to the long persistence of N2O in the atmosphere, the mitigation of anthropogenic N2O emissions, which are mainly derived from microbial N2O-producing processes, including nitrification and denitrification by bacteria, archaea, and fungi, in agricultural soils, is urgently necessary. Members of mesofauna affect microbial processes by consuming microbial biomass in soil. However, how microbial consumption affects N2O emissions is largely unknown. Here, we report the significant role of fungivorous mites, the major mesofaunal group in agricultural soils, in regulating N2O production by fungi, and the results can be applied to the mitigation of N2O emissions. We found that the application of coconut husks, which is the low-value part of coconut and is commonly employed as a soil conditioner in agriculture, to soil can supply a favorable habitat for fungivorous mites due to its porous structure and thereby increase the mite abundance in agricultural fields. Because mites rapidly consume fungal N2O producers in soil, the increase in mite abundance substantially decreases the N2O emissions from soil. Our findings might provide new insight into the mechanisms of soil N2O emissions and broaden the options for the mitigation of N2O emissions.

Paper Information

: The ISME Journal
: 10.1038/s41396-021-00948-4