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Transformation and stabilization of pyrogenic organic matter in a temperate forest field experiment - Zurich Open Repository and Archive


Singh, Nimisha; Abiven, Samuel; Maestrini, Bernardo; Bird, Jeffrey A; Torn, Margaret S; Schmidt, Michael W I (2014). Transformation and stabilization of pyrogenic organic matter in a temperate forest field experiment. Global Change Biology, 20(5):1629-1642.

Abstract

Pyrogenic organic matter (PyOM) decomposes on centennial timescale in soils, but the processes regulating its decay are poorly understood. We conducted one of the first studies of PyOM and wood decomposition in a temperate forest using isotopically labeled organic substrate, and quantified microbial incorporation and physico-chemical transformations of PyOM in situ. Stable-isotope (13C and 15N) enriched PyOM and its precursor wood were added to the soil at 2 cm depth at ambient (N0) and increased (N+) levels of nitrogen fertilization. The carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) of added PyOM or wood were tracked through soil to 15 cm depth, in physically separated soil density fractions and in benzene polycarboxylic acids (BPCA) molecular markers. After 10 months in situ, more PyOM-derived C (>99% of initial 13C-PyOM) and N (90% of initial 15N-PyOM) was recovered than wood derived C (48% of 13C-wood) and N (89% under N0 and 48% under N+). PyOM-C and wood-C migrated at the rate of 126 mm yr-1 with 3-4% of PyOM-C and 4-8% of wood-C recovered below the application depth. Most PyOM C was recovered in the free light fraction (fLF) (74%), with 20% in aggregate-occluded and 6% in mineral associated fractions —fractions that typically have much slower turnover times. In contrast, wood C was recovered mainly in occluded (33%) or dense fraction (27%). PyOM addition induced loss of native C from soil (priming effect), particularly in fLF (13%). The total BPCA-C content did not change but after ten months the degree of aromatic condensation of PyOM decreased, as determined by relative contribution of benzene hexa-carboxylic acid (B6CA) to the total BPCA C. Soil microbial biomass (SMB) assimilated 6-10% of C from the wood, while PyOM contributions was negligible (0.14–0.18%). The addition of N had no effect on the dynamics of PyOM while limited effect on wood.

Abstract

Pyrogenic organic matter (PyOM) decomposes on centennial timescale in soils, but the processes regulating its decay are poorly understood. We conducted one of the first studies of PyOM and wood decomposition in a temperate forest using isotopically labeled organic substrate, and quantified microbial incorporation and physico-chemical transformations of PyOM in situ. Stable-isotope (13C and 15N) enriched PyOM and its precursor wood were added to the soil at 2 cm depth at ambient (N0) and increased (N+) levels of nitrogen fertilization. The carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) of added PyOM or wood were tracked through soil to 15 cm depth, in physically separated soil density fractions and in benzene polycarboxylic acids (BPCA) molecular markers. After 10 months in situ, more PyOM-derived C (>99% of initial 13C-PyOM) and N (90% of initial 15N-PyOM) was recovered than wood derived C (48% of 13C-wood) and N (89% under N0 and 48% under N+). PyOM-C and wood-C migrated at the rate of 126 mm yr-1 with 3-4% of PyOM-C and 4-8% of wood-C recovered below the application depth. Most PyOM C was recovered in the free light fraction (fLF) (74%), with 20% in aggregate-occluded and 6% in mineral associated fractions —fractions that typically have much slower turnover times. In contrast, wood C was recovered mainly in occluded (33%) or dense fraction (27%). PyOM addition induced loss of native C from soil (priming effect), particularly in fLF (13%). The total BPCA-C content did not change but after ten months the degree of aromatic condensation of PyOM decreased, as determined by relative contribution of benzene hexa-carboxylic acid (B6CA) to the total BPCA C. Soil microbial biomass (SMB) assimilated 6-10% of C from the wood, while PyOM contributions was negligible (0.14–0.18%). The addition of N had no effect on the dynamics of PyOM while limited effect on wood.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:23 Jan 2014 10:31
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:23
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:1354-1013
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.12459

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