Molecular complexity and diversity of persistent soil organic matter

Jones, Andrew R., Dalal, Ram C., Gupta, Vadakattu V.S.R., Schmidt, Susanne, Allen, Diane E., Jacobsen, Geraldine E., Bird, Michael, Grandy, A. Stuart, and Sanderman, Jonathan (2023) Molecular complexity and diversity of persistent soil organic matter. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 184. 109061.

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Managing and increasing organic matter in soil requires greater understanding of the mechanisms driving its persistence through resistance to microbial decomposition. Conflicting evidence exists for whether persistent soil organic matter (SOM) is molecularly complex and diverse. As such, this study used a novel application of graph networks with pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to quantify the complexity and diversity of persistent SOM, defined as SOM that persists through time (soil radiocarbon age) and soil depth. We analyzed soils from the Cooloola giant podzol chronosequence across a large gradient of soil depths (0–15 m) and SOM radiocarbon ages (modern to 19,000 years BP). We found that the most persistent SOM on this gradient was highly aromatic and had the lowest molecular complexity and diversity. By contrast, fresh surface SOM had higher molecular complexity and diversity, with high contributions of plant-derived lignins and polysaccharides. These findings indicate that persisting SOM declines in molecular complexity and diversity over geological timescales and soil depths, with aromatic SOM compounds persisting longer with mineral association.

Item ID: 79097
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3428
Copyright Information: © 2023 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2024 22:21
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4106 Soil sciences > 410603 Soil biology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180601 Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems @ 100%
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