Effect of N content and soil texture on the decomposition of organic matter in forest soils as revealed by solid-state CPMAS NMR spectroscopy

Dignac, M.F.; Knicker, H.; Koegel, K.I.

Organic Geochemistry 33(12): 1715-1726


ISSN/ISBN: 0146-6380
DOI: 10.1016/s0146-6380(02)00172-9
Accession: 003723798

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N has a controlling effect on litter biodegradation in the forest floor, while stabilization of organic matter in the mineral soil may be influenced by physical parameters related to soil texture. In this study, in order to understand the processes involved in soil organic matter (SOM) formation, the chemical composition of SOM was followed and evaluated with regards to N contents and soil texture. Samples were taken on sites covered with Norway spruce and displaying contrasting values of C/N ratios in the forest floor. The chemical structure of OM was characterized using solid-state CPMAS (super 13) C and (super 15) N nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, along with Proton Spin Relaxation Editing (PSRE) sequences. Four groups of sampling sites were defined based on the NMR spectra of Oh and A horizons. In each group displaying similar NMR characteristics, N content and soil texture could be highly different among sites. Some Oh horizons with similar NMR spectra had very different N contents. Highly humified OM in Oh horizons were observed mainly on sites with low N contents. Some A horizons with different soil texture displayed similar OM chemical structure. High contents of O-alkyl C in some A horizons could originate from higher fresh root material input.