Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
The analysis of free lipids in 12 soils from three representative types of Mediterranean forest has been carried out in an attempt to describe diagnostic molecules reflecting differences between the ecosystems and the intensity of the soil organic matter turnover. The study centred on the analysis by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry of the soil compounds extracted with petroleum ether from soils in central Spain, developed under monospecific formations of stone pine (Pinus pined), evergreen oak (Quercus rotundifolia) and Spanish juniper (Juniperus thurifera), the lipid extracts from their leaves also being analysed as reference material.The comparison between the distribution patterns of alkanes and fatty acids in plant lipids and the corresponding soil lipids was used to assess the extent to which the former accumulate in soil or are substituted by other biogenic or diagenetic homologues. In general, the alkane patterns showed the greatest variation in soils under oak, and the differences between lipid patterns in plant and soil were greatest in the juniper forests. As indicators of the vegetation type, the soil fatty acids had little value.Up to 60 major cyclic compounds were identified, including mainly di- and sesquiterpenes, in addition to some monoterpenes and nonterpenic naphthalenes and decalins. Of these major constituents, 33 compounds were found in soil but were not present in plant extracts, and 18 compounds were identified in plants but were not in the soils. The results suggest an arrangement of the soil samples based on the composition of the signature lipid assemblages.
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