Enzymatic Activity as Influenced by Soil Mineral and Humic Colloids and Its Impact on Biogeochemical Processes

Authored by: L. Gianfreda , M.A. Rao , M. Mora

Handbook of Soil Sciences Resource Management and Environmental Impacts

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  November  2011

Print ISBN: 9781439803073
eBook ISBN: 9781439803080
Adobe ISBN:


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Soil enzyme activities are the driving force behind all biochemical transformations occurring in soil. Soil is a complex environment where several inorganic and organic components are simultaneously present and exert their action. These components may affect the synthesis, persistence, stabilization, regulation, and catalytic behavior of enzymatic proteins, present at any moment in the soil environment. In soil, enzyme activities outside the cells exhibit altered catalytic, kinetic, and stability properties. For these peculiar features and properties, they can be regarded as “naturally immobilized enzymes.” Several studies have demonstrated that clay minerals, organic matter (OM), and organo–mineral complexes are involved in the interaction with enzyme activities and the immobilization of enzymes in soil. Two methodological approaches have been used for understanding the relationships between immobilized soil enzymes and their clay, humic, or humic–clay supports (Gianfreda and Bollag, 1996). The first approach is based on the isolation, purification, and characterization of active enzymatic fractions from soils. In the second approach, synthetic model systems, in which enzymes are artificially immobilized by their attachment to soil components, have been used for studying the properties of soil-bound enzymes.

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