The conditions and trends of organic matter formation in the topsoil of Leptic Cambisol of the Coastal Antarctic under Deschampsia antarctica E. Desv. and Haplic Luvisol under Deschampsia cespitosa (L.). R. Beauv in forest-steppe were studied. The contribution of amino acids of higher plants to the formation of soil organic matter as well as the number of micromycetes and actinomycetes in the soil were studied. The results of the study showed that the content of free amino acids in the leaves of D. antarctica and D. cespitosa is similar. Therefore, differences in the properties of the top organic horizons of the investigated soils are less related to the chemical composition of the organic matter precursors than was previously thought. It has been found that for the soils of low-temperature ecosystems, high activity of melanin-containing micromycetes is typical. These organisms are also involved in the processes of soil organic matter formation via the “melanin” pathway.
Keywords: Deschampsia antarctica, Deschampsia cespitosa, free amino acids, melanin-containing micromycetes
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