The influence of biochemical characteristics of 15 crop residues on C and N mineralisation in soil was investigated by following the decomposition of roots, stems and leaves of four subtropical species and one temperate species buried into the soil. The C, N and polyphenols contents were measured in different biochemical pools obtained from residues of the different organs. The mineralisation of root C was significantly lower than that of leaves and stems. Chemical analysis showed a higher polyphenol content in the leaves and a higher ligninlike content in the roots. Carbon and N mineralisation were simulated with the STICS decomposition submodel and tested against the data set. The model predicted leaf and stem C mineralisation for all five species fairly accurately, but failed to predict root C mineralisation, indirectly revealing the more complex composition of the root tissue. The results showed the interest of separately considering the different plant parts when studying plant residue decomposition and the need to develop other methods of residue quality characterisation to improve the prediction of residue decomposition.