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Model systems for understanding potassium transformations in fungal biomass

EMSL Project ID


Soil biota plays an important role in nutrient cycling processes through breakdown of nutrients from soil minerals or organic matter and rebuilding new nutrient structures for storage within their own biomass. Understanding such nutrient transformation processes is essential to develop insights into the global nutrient cycles and how environmental changes affect them. Potassium (K) is an essential macronutrient required for plant and microbial community development, which is used to mitigate environmental stresses. However, not much is known about the K uptake and transformation strategies in fungal communities, which are foundational members of the soil microbiome. We have XANES data demonstrating an unidentified organic K form detected and widespread in fungal biomass. The widespread nature of the organic K detected suggest that the chemical environment of K in this form is stable and perhaps contribute to recycling of K in fungal organic matter in soil. In this proposal, we will leverage on EMSL’s computational and modeling resources to unravel the chemical environment of the organic K, through analysis of several K K – edge XANES of standards and experimental data. The data from this proposal will help develop a deeper understanding of K transformations within fungal communities.

Project Details

Project type
Exploratory Research
Start Date
End Date


Principal Investigator

Ritimukta Sarangi
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

Team Members

Xiao You
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

Jocelyn Richardson
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

Niranjan Govind
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory