Ni-hyperaccumulating species produce high-Ni litters and potentially influence important ecosystem processes such as decomposition. According to the elemental allelopathy hypothesis of hyperaccumulation, the restriction of the majority of metal hyperaccumulators in metaliferous soils may be dependent on litter decomposition.
Adamidis et al. using for the first time mixed-species litters containing hyperaccumulated Ni:
- indicate the presence of Ni-resistant decomposers on serpentine soil,
- demonstrate the selective decomposition of low-Ni parts of litters on non-serpentine soils and
- give support to the elemental allelopathy hypothesis, presenting the potential selective advantages acquired by metal
hyperaccumulators through litter decomposition on serpentine soils.