Lignin is a major determinant of the decomposition of plant materials in soils. Advances in transgenic technology have led to the possibility of modifying lignin to improve the pulping properties of plant materials for papermaking. Previous studies have shown that lignin modifications also affect the rate of plant material decay in soil. The aim of this work was to investigate short-term changes in soil microbial community structures when tobacco residues with reduced activity of enzymes in the monolignol pathway decompose. The residues from lignin-modified plants all decomposed faster than unmodified plant materials. The relative proportions of some of the structural groups of microbial phospholipid fatty acids were affected by genetic modifications, especially the proportion of double unsaturated chain fatty acids, indicative of fungi.
- Genetic modification
- Microbial community structure