Root exudates, particularly low molecular weight carbon (LMWC) substrates, are major drivers of bacterial diversity and activity in the rhizosphere environment. However, it is not well understood how specific LMWC compounds—such as organic acids, soluble sugars, and amino acids—influence the community structures of denitrifying bacteria or if there are specific functions of LMWC substrates that preferentially respond to nitrogen (N) removal in constructed wetlands (CWs). To address these knowledge gaps, we added mixtures of artificial exudates to CW microcosms containing N pollutant. N removal efficiency was observed over a 48-h experimental period, and at the end of the experiment, DNA was extracted from microbial samples for assessment of the bacterial community. The removal efficiencies of TN for the exudates treatments were higher than for control groups by 47.1–58.67%. Organic acid and soluble sugar treatments increased N removal, while amino acids were negative to N removal. The microbial community was changed when artificial exudates were added, but there were no significant relationships between LMWC compounds and bacterial community composition. These results indicate that although the responses of community structures of denitrifying bacteria to LMWC additions are still uncertain, there is evidence for N removal in response to exudate additions across LMWC types.
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