Adessi, A., Cruz de Carvalho, R., De Phillippis, R., Branquinho, C. & Marques da Silva, J. (2018) Microbial extracellular polymeric substances improve water retention in dryland biological soil crusts.Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 116, 67-69. DOI:10.1016/j.soilbio.2017.10.002 (IF2017 4,926; Q1 Soil Science)
Biological Soil Crusts (BSCs) represent an important part of the living cover in drylands worldwide. BCSs change soil hydrology due to extracellular polymeric substances (EPS)-excreting species of cyanobacteria, dominant members of dryland-BSCs. The presence of EPS allowed matric potential (Ψm) to remain unchanged down to 20% water content, whereas, without EPS, Ψm started decreasing at 80% water content. The EPS matrix improved the water retaining capacity of soil, suggesting that BSCs would delay onset of restrictive matric potential values due to its larger water holding capacity.