Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Increase Organic Carbon Decomposition Under Elevated CO2
The extent to which terrestrial ecosystems can sequester carbon to mitigate climate change is a matter of debate. The stimulation of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) by elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) has been assumed to be a major mechanism facilitating soil carbon sequestration by increasing carbon inputs to soil and by protecting organic carbon from decomposition via aggregation. We present evidence from four independent microcosm and field experiments demonstrating that CO2 enhancement of AMF results in considerable soil carbon losses. Our findings challenge the assumption that AMF protect against degradation of organic carbon in soil and raise questions about the current prediction of terrestrial ecosystem carbon balance under future climate-change scenarios.