Repeated drying and rewetting cycles accelerate bacterial growth recovery after rewetting

Ainara Leizeaga*, Annelein Meisner, Johannes Rousk, Erland Bååth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Two patterns of bacterial growth response upon drying and rewetting (DRW) of soils have previously been identified. Bacterial growth can either start increasing immediately after rewetting in a linear fashion (“type 1” response) or start increasing exponentially after a lag period (“type 2” response). The effect of repeated DRW cycles was studied in three soils with different response patterns after a single DRW cycle (“type 1”, “type 2” with a short lag period and “type 2” with a long lag period). The soils were exposed to seven DRW cycles, and respiration and bacterial growth were monitored after 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 cycles. Exposure to repeated DRW shifted the bacterial growth response from a “type 2” to a “type 1” pattern, resulting in an accelerated growth recovery to a pre-disturbance growth rate. Bacterial growth in soils that initially had a “type 1” response also tended to recover faster after each subsequent DRW cycle. The respiration patterns after DRW also indicated the same transition from a “type 2” to a “type 1” pattern. Our results show that exposure to repeated DRW cycles will shape the bacterial response to future DRW cycles, which might be mediated by a shift in species composition, a physiological adjustment, evolutionary changes, or a combination of the three.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-374
JournalBiology and Fertility of Soils
Issue number4
Early online date7 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Bacterial growth
  • Birch effect
  • Drying-rewetting cycles
  • Moisture
  • Respiration
  • Soil microorganisms


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