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  • 1
    ISSN: 1365-2389
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Organo-mineral associations stabilize soil organic matter, though the mechanisms by which they do so are unclear. We used particle-size fractions 〈 6.3 μm of two soils to examine the importance of Fe oxides, short-range order Al silicates and the surface areas of minerals and micropores on the formation of organo-mineral associations. In the subsoil Fe oxides were most strongly statistically correlated with the mineral-bound organic carbon. We therefore assume that they are the most important substrates for the formation of organo-mineral associations. There is no indication that this is caused by physical protection of organic matter in their micropores (〈 2 nm). In the Haplic Podzol, dithionite–citrate–bicarbonate-soluble short-range order Al silicates may also play a role. Fe oxide particles were calculated to offer specific surface areas of ∼ 200 m2 g−1 (goethite) and ∼ 800 m2 g−1 (ferrihydrite), corresponding to crystal diameters of only a few nm. We assume that the resulting large amount of oxide-specific reactive surface sites (conditionally charged hydroxyl groups) is responsible for their dominant role as sorbents. With maximum C loadings of 1.3 mg C per m2 Fe oxide for the Dystric Cambisol and 1.1 mg C per m2 Fe oxide + short-range order Al silicates for the Haplic Podzol the subsoils of both soils seem to have reached saturation with respect to organic matter sorption. In contrast to subsoil horizons, organo-mineral associations from topsoils contain much larger amounts of organic matter. Here a larger C loading on Fe oxides or a greater importance of other sorbents in addition to the oxides must be assumed.
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1365-2389
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Understanding mechanisms of microaggregate formation in soils requires knowledge of their exact size distribution. With this in mind, we have used X-ray attenuation to determine the size distributions of microaggregates and primary particles in the range 0.2–63 μm, with a resolution of 100 size increments. Ten arable and grassland soils with organic C contents ranging from 14.7 to 37.7 g kg−1 were analysed. They were subjected to ultrasound at 52 J ml−1 which destroyed most aggregates 〉 63 μm to give microaggregates in the size range 1–63 μm. The size distribution of microaggregates differed significantly from that of primary particles and was largely independent of their organic C content. Microaggregates were most abundant in 19 of the 100 size increments, contributing to 92% of the major peaks of the size distribution. These preferred increments differed from those of primary particles, but the order for the two was similar. Further analysis of the size distribution revealed a larger mean weight diameter of microaggregates, depending on the size distribution of primary particles. The results suggest a major effect of the size distribution of primary particles on microaggregation, whereas land use seems to have a negligible effect. The proportion of mechanically dispersible clay decreased with increasing C content and indicates structural stability at the microscale.
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  • 3
    ISSN: 1365-2389
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: To obtain reliable estimates for the loss of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from contaminated soils, one has to distinguish between (i) losses due to release and solute transport and (ii) losses resulting from degradation. We studied the interplay of these processes in a column experiment representing a typical soil contamination scenario: in the upper part of the column was a contaminated layer, spiked with 9-13C-labelled anthracene, and beneath it uncontaminated pristine soil. The experimental course comprised a steady-state flow phase (constant irrigation for 4 months) followed by several periods during which flow was halted. The effects of varied residence time on anthracene biodegradation and on anthracene mass transfer were investigated. We monitored labelled anthracene and its transformation products, dissolved organic carbon, electric conductivity (EC), pH, and inorganic carbonate content in the column effluent, and the CO2 evolved.Under steady-state flow, pH, dissolved organic C, and EC approached steady states after 350 pore volumes. Concentrations of anthracene in the effluent, however, increased continuously and levelled off after 800 pore volumes. This marked retardation reflects the great affinity of anthracene to soil organic matter. The response to interruptions in the flow revealed that mass is transferred without equilibrium between solid and liquid phase for both anthracene and dissolved organic C. Thus, residence time is one factor controlling the concentration of anthracene in the effluent and therefore the export of contaminant to the aquifer. In the course of the experiment several labelled anthracene degradation products appeared in the effluent. At least three of them were identified as transformation products showing a dramatic increase in mobility relative to the parent compound. A third of the overall anthracene loss from the column was due to solute transport, and biodegradation was responsible for the remaining two thirds. The incomplete degradation of anthracene leads to the formation of highly mobile transformation products and thus promotes the export of carbon, derived from the contaminant.
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  • 4
    ISSN: 1365-2389
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Burning vegetation produces partly charred plant material which subsequently could contribute to the highly refractory proportion of soil organic matter. The presence of charred organic carbon (COC) was investigated in 17 horizons originating from nine soils from Germany and the Netherlands using a suite of complementary methods (high-energy ultraviolet photo-oxidation, scanning electron microscopy, solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance, lignin analysis by CuO oxidation). Charred organic carbon could not be detected in the A horizons of an Alisol and a Gleysol, but it contributed up to 45% of the organic carbon and up to about 8 g kg–1 of the soil in a range of grey to black soils (Cambisol, Luvisol, Phaeozem, Chernozem and Greyzem). All these soils have chernozemic soil properties (dark colour, A–C profile, high base saturation, bioturbation). A 10-km colour sequence of four chernozemic soils, which were very similar in chemical and physical properties, showed a strong relation between colour and the content of COC. This suggests that the COC affects mainly soil colour in the sequence studied. Finely divided COC seems to be a major constituent of many chernozemic soils in Germany. These results suggest that besides climate, vegetation and bioturbation, fire has played an important role in the pedogenesis of chernozemic soils.
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  • 5
    ISSN: 1365-2389
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: The mobility of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in soils can be influenced by the presence of dissolved organic matter. Partition coefficients of selected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, ranging from 3-ring to 6-ring compounds, to water-soluble soil organic matter (WSSOM) were determined. Partition coefficients were determined for WSSOM obtained from two soils under agricultural use and forest and for commercially available humic acid (Aldrich), taking advantage of a reversed phase (C18) separation method. The WSSOM was characterised with regard to charge and hydrophilic/hydrophobic properties with a dissolved organic matter (DOM) fractionation method. No sorption to WSSOM was found for the tri- and tetracyclic PAH, whereas the penta- and hexacyclic PAH showed a significant binding to both types of WSSOM and to Aldrich humic acid. The affinity of penta- and hexacyclic PAH to WSSOM was considerably lower compared to the affinity to Aldrich humic acid. This is suggested to be due to the lower amount of hydrophobic fractions, c. 30%, in the natural WSSOM as compared to Aldrich humic acid. Effective partition coefficients (Koceff) for the sorption of PAH to bulk soil calculated from KDOC and DOM in the naturally occurring concentration range were only 60–70% of the Koc values in pure water. The impact of DOM on pollutant transport is further influenced by non-equilibrium behaviour of PAH in soils and by sorption of DOM to the solid-soil matrix. Several scenarios are described in which the effect of DOM on pollutant transport may become important.
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  • 6
    ISSN: 1365-2389
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Current wet chemical methods for the speciation of sulphur (S) in soils are inaccurate and do not allow one to assess the S speciation of individual soil particles and colloids. X-ray microscopy and Near Edge X-ray Absorption Fine structure Spectroscopy (NEXAFS) can be used to study individual species of S at the K-adsorption edge. We have used these techniques to identify and quantify S species in bulk soil, soil particles and colloids from Oh and Bh horizons of two forested Podzols. The partitioning of soil sulphur as determined on bulk samples of the Oh horizons by X-ray spectromicroscopy agreed fairly well with the results of a conventional S speciation for the soil at Schluchsee, and reasonably well for that at Rotherdbach. The NEXAFS analyses on individual soil particles revealed that they are richer in reduced organic sulphur than the bulk soil for the Schluchsee Oh and richer in sulphate for Rotherdbach Oh. The techniques can be used reliably to separate and quantify sulphur species with different oxidation states in the soil. The combination of X-ray transmission and sulphur fluorescence images with unfocused and focused NEXAFS spectra at the K-adsorption edge of sulphur at specific microsites allowed us to compare the distribution of S species in bulk soil with that of distinct soil particles and soil colloids. Moreover, we can use it to assess the spatial distribution of different S species on soil particles on a scale of a few hundred nanometres.
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  • 7
    ISSN: 1365-2389
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: The organic matter in soils may be stabilized by its interactions with minerals. We have studied such interactions in a Haplic Alisol under forest in which clay and organic matter have migrated from an eluvial A horizon to accumulate in an illuvial B horizon. We have tried to trace the fate of organic matter in these horizons (Ah and Bvt) by determining clay mineralogy, carbon and nitrogen content, hydrolysable amino acids, lignin signature by alkaline CuO oxidation and carbon species by 13C CPMAS NMR of bulk soils and particle-size fractions. In both horizons, most of the organic matter was present in O–alkyl and methylene structures, each contributing one-third to the bulk organic matter. In the Ah horizon the ratios of carbon-to-nitrogen, and yields for lignin and hydrolysable amino acids decreased as the particle-size class decreased, but side-chain oxidation of lignin compounds increased with decreasing particle size. In contrast to previous observations, the proportions of O–alkyl carbon increased as particle size decreased, constituting a major proportion of the organic carbon in the clay-size fractions from both the Ah and Bvt horizons (≥ 38%), while proportions of methylene carbon decreased. Illite was the dominant mineral in the fraction ≤ 6 μm, whereas the mobile fine clay fraction (〈0.2 μm) was rich in smectites – minerals with large surface areas. Our results support the hypothesis that potentially labile organic matter, such as O–alkyl carbon typically present in polysaccharides, may be stabilized against further degradation in organomineral complexes.
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  • 8
    ISSN: 1365-2389
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Soil organic matter can be intimately associated with mineral particles of various sizes. For structural studies, soil organic matter can be isolated in particle size fractions after complete dispersion of the aggregates by ultrasonication. The ultrasonic dispersion energy necessary for complete dispersion was investigated in three A and two B horizons originating from four soils differing in pedogenesis (Gleysol, Phaeozem, Podzol, Alisol), organic C (4.2–34.5 g kg–1) and clay content (24–294 g kg–1). Calorimetric calibration of five probe-type ultrasonifiers revealed that the actual energy output from an instrument can depart widely from its nominal output, and that this discrepancy varies from instrument to instrument. Calorimetric calibration is therefore essential for consistency and comparisons between laboratories. Between 450 and 500 J ml–1 of ultrasonic dispersion energy was enough to disperse completely all samples investigated. The particle size distributions obtained were close to those from standard analysis, except for smaller yields (–20 to –80 g kg–1) of sand size fractions, which suggests that dispersion by ultrasound is more effective. Based on total C, C:N ratio and distribution of dissolved C, no detachment of soil organic matter from primary organomineral complexes and no redistribution between particle size fractions could be detected in the range 30–590 J ml–1 of dispersion energy.
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  • 9
    ISSN: 1365-2389
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: We know much about the influence of management on stocks of organic matter in subtropical soils, yet little about the influence on the chemical composition. We therefore studied by CPMAS 13C NMR spectroscopy the composition of the above-ground plant tissue, of the organic matter of the whole soil and of silt- and clay-size fractions of the topsoil and subsoil of a subtropical Acrisol under grass and arable crops. Soil samples were collected from three no-till cropping systems (bare soil; oats−maize; pigeon pea + maize), each receiving 0 and 180 kg N ha−1 year−1, in a long-term field experiment. Soil under the original native grass was also sampled. The kind of arable crops and grass affected the composition of the particulate organic matter. There were no differences in the composition of the organic matter in silt- and clay-size fractions, or of the whole soil, among the arable systems. Changes were observed between land use: the soil of the grassland had larger alkyl and smaller aromatic C contents than did the arable soil. The small size fractions contain microbial products, and we think that the compositional difference in silt- and clay-size fractions between grassland and the arable land was induced by changes in the soil's microbial community and therefore in the quality of its biochemical products. The application of N did not affect the composition of the above-ground plant tissue nor of the particulate organic matter and silt-size fractions, but it did increase the alkyl C content in the clay-size fraction. In the subsoil, the silt-size fraction of all treatments contained large contents of aromatic C. Microscopic investigation confirmed that this derived from particles of charred material. The composition of organic matter in this soil is affected by land use, but not by variations in the arable crops grown.
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  • 10
    ISSN: 1365-2389
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Is the composition of soil organic matter changed by adding compost? To find out we incubated biowaste composts with agricultural soils and a humus-free mineral substrate at 5°C and 14°C for 18 months and examined the products. Organic matter composition was characterized by CuO oxidation of lignin, hydrolysis of cellulosic and non-cellulosic polysaccharides (CPS and NCPS) and 13C cross-polarization magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance (CPMAS 13C-NMR) spectroscopy. The lignin contents in the compost-amended soils increased because the composts contained more lignin, which altered little even after prolonged decomposition of the composts in soil. A pronounced decrease in lignin occurred in the soils amended with mature compost only. Polysaccharide C accounted for 14–20% of the organic carbon at the beginning of the experiment for both the compost-amended soils and the controls. During the incubation, the relative contents of total polysaccharides decreased for 9–20% (controls) and for 20–49% (compost-amended soils). They contributed preferentially to the decomposition as compared with the bulk soil organic matter, that decreased between 〈 2% and 20%. In the compost-amended agricultural soils, cellulosic polysaccharides were decomposed in preference to non-cellulosic ones. The NMR spectra of the compost-amended soils had more intense signals of O–alkyl and aromatic C than did those of the controls. Incubation for 18 months resulted mainly in a decline of O–alkyl C for all soils. The composition of the soil organic matter after compost amendment changed mainly by increases in the lignin and aromatic C of the composts, and compost-derived polysaccharides were mineralized preferentially. The results suggest that decomposition of the added composts in soil is as an ongoing humification process of the composts themselves. The different soil materials affected the changes in soil organic matter composition to only a minor degree.
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