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Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology ›› 2022, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (7): 1885-1892.doi: 10.13287/j.1001-9332.202207.006

• Special Features of biological soil crusts • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Eco-physiological functions of soil microbial biofilms: A review

A La-sa1,2,3, GAO Guang-lei1,2,3*, DING Guo-dong1,2,3, ZHANG Ying1,2,3, CAO Hong-yu1,2,3, DU Yu-jia1   

  1. 1Ministry of Education Engineering Research Center of Forestry Ecological Engineering, College of Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China;
    2Yanchi Ecology Research Station of the Mu Us Desert, Wuzhong 751500, Ningxia, China;
    3Key Laboratory of State Forestry and Grassland Administration on Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing 100083, China
  • Received:2021-12-05 Accepted:2022-04-27 Online:2022-07-15 Published:2023-01-15

Abstract: Soil microbial biofilms (SMBs) are a biological community of soil bacteria and their accumulative extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), which are the initial status and the most important components of biological soil crusts. SMBs, as the most common mode of soil bacterium survival, not only greatly contribute to the survival of free-living cells, but also stick to soil particles and roots, performing a variety of important ecological functions. Based on the structure and composition analysis of SMBs, we gave a summary of eco-physiological functions of SMBs involving soil quality and plant health. SMBs have higher metabolic activity than free-living cells. It promotes EPS secretion and organic turnover, which is important for soil fertility, pollutant decomposition, and aggregate formation. SMBs help improve plant nutrient utilization and stress resistance through the synergy of microorganisms, promotion of plant growth, promoting substance secretion and immobilization of EPS. In the future, it will be critical to uncover the micro-mechanisms underlying SMBs’ eco-physiological functions and to screen functional soil bacterium strains.

Key words: soil microbial biofilm, extracellular polymeric substance, soil quality, plant growth, soil erosion resistance