Key Laboratory of Poyang Lake Environment and Resource Utilization, Ministry of Education, School of Resources Environmental & Chemical Engineering, Nanchang University, Nanchang 330031, PR China; Department of Applied Ecology, Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg 199178, Russian Federation; School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon SK, S7N 5B3, Canada.
A 180-day incubation study was conducted to evaluate the effects of risk elements (REs) on organic carbon use and microbial activities in organic soils in the Arctic during the summer snowmelt period. Soils were artificially spiked with Cd, Pb, Cr, Ni, Cu, As, and a combination of these REs according to the levels measured in Arctic soils from REs-polluted industrial sites. During the incubation period, microbial activities and microbial biomass carbon (MBC) formation were inhibited, and microbial quotient (qCO2) values were relatively high in the spiked soils indicating that more energy was used by microbes for maintenance under REs stress. Meanwhile, microbial metabolism was significantly restrained. Microbial Specific phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) were reduced in RE spiked soils relative to the control, especially in the As- and multi-RE-spiked soils. The abundance of both fungi and bacteria was reduced in response to RE amendments by 14-24% and 1-55%, respectively. PLFA biomarkers indicated a shift in soil microbial community structure and activities influenced by REs, consequently having a negative effect on soil organic carbon degradation. This study addresses the knowledge gap regarding the alternation of biochemical reactions in Arctic soils under anthropogenic REs with relevant contamination levels.