Knowns and unknowns of the soil fungal necrobiome

Peter G. Kennedy, Francois L Maillard

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Dead microbial cells, commonly referred to as necromass, are increasingly recognized as an important source of both persistent carbon as well as nutrient availability in soils. Studies of the microbial communities associated with decomposing fungal necromass have accumulated rapidly in recent years across a range of different terrestrial ecosystems. Here we identify the primary ecological patterns regarding the structure and dynamics of the fungal necrobiome as well as highlight new research frontiers that will likely be key to gaining a full understanding of fungal necrobiome composition and its associated role in soil biogeochemical cycling. Because many members of the fungal necrobiome are culturable, combining laboratory functional assays with field-based surveys and experiments will allow ongoing studies of the fungal necrobiome to move from largely descriptive to increasingly predictive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-180
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank two anonymous reviewers and the handling editor for constructive comments on a previous draft and the U.S. National Science Foundation (#DEB 2038293 ) for financial support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • community assembly
  • dead mycelium
  • microbial
  • organic matter decomposition


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