Protein accumulation and distribution in floodplain soils and river foam

Mary J. Harner, Philip W. Ramsey, Matthias C. Rillig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Many processes contribute to nutrient transfer from terrestrial to aquatic systems, but in most cases the contribution of particular organisms is unknown. In this study, we explore how a Bradford-reactive soil protein (BRSP) produced by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi may provide nutrients to river ecosystems. Along a floodplain in Montana, we extracted BRSP from soils and related the protein concentrations to the age of soil surfaces. We identified BRSP in surface soils, as well as to a depth of 1.4 m, and found that the protein accumulates through time. We also detected BRSP in foam from five rivers in the western United States. Experiments were conducted that demonstrate that the protein may be leached or washed from soils and become a constituent of foam when mixed into turbulent water. We propose that terrestrially derived soil protein may enter rivers via erosion and leaching and serve as a nutrient source for aquatic organisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-836
Number of pages8
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Arbuscular mycorrhiza
  • Bradford-reactive soil protein
  • Floodplain
  • Foam
  • Glomalin
  • Populus
  • Soil carbon
  • Soil structure.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Protein accumulation and distribution in floodplain soils and river foam'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this