15N-DNA stable isotope probing (15N-DNA-SIP) combined with 18S rRNA gene-based community analysis was used to identify active fungi involved in decomposition of 15N-labeled maize and soybean litter in a tropical Vertisol. Phylogenetic analysis of 15N-labeled DNA subjected to 18S rRNA gene-based community fingerprinting showed that organic residue quality promoted either slow (i.e. Penicillium sp., Aspergillus sp.) or fast growing (i.e. Fusarium sp., Mortierella sp.) fungal decomposers in soils treated with maize or soybean residues, respectively, whereas Chaetomium sp. were found as dominant decomposers in both residue treatments. Therefore, we have clear evidence that specific members of the fungal community used 15N derived from the two different organic resources for growth and stimulated early decomposition of maize or soybean decomposition. In conclusion, our study showed that 15N-DNA-SIP-based community analyses cannot only follow the flow of N from organic resources into bacteria, but also into the actively decomposing fungal communities of soils
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