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Title: Iron-bound organic carbon in forest soils: quantification and characterization

Abstract

Iron oxide minerals play an important role in stabilizing organic carbon (OC) and regulating the biogeochemical cycles of OC on the earth surface. To predict the fate of OC, it is essential to understand the amount, spatial variability, and characteristics of Fe-bound OC in natural soils. In this study, we investigated the concentrations and characteristics of Fe-bound OC in soils collected from 14 forests in the United States and determined the impact of ecogeographical variables and soil physicochemical properties on the association of OC and Fe minerals. On average, Fe-bound OC contributed 37.8 % of total OC (TOC) in forest soils. Atomic ratios of OC : Fe ranged from 0.56 to 17.7, with values of 1–10 for most samples, and the ratios indicate the importance of both sorptive and incorporative interactions. The fraction of Fe-bound OC in TOC (fFe-OC) was not related to the concentration of reactive Fe, which suggests that the importance of association with Fe in OC accumulation was not governed by the concentration of reactive Fe. Concentrations of Fe-bound OC and fFe-OC increased with latitude and reached peak values at a site with a mean annual temperature of 6.6 °C. Attenuated total reflectance–Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR)more » and near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) analyses revealed that Fe-bound OC was less aliphatic than non-Fe-bound OC. Fe-bound OC also was more enriched in 13C compared to the non-Fe-bound OC, but C/N ratios did not differ substantially. In summary, 13C-enriched OC with less aliphatic carbon and more carboxylic carbon was associated with Fe minerals in the soils, with values of fFe-OC being controlled by both sorptive and incorporative associations between Fe and OC. Overall, this study demonstrates that Fe oxides play an important role in regulating the biogeochemical cycles of C in forest soils and uncovers the governing factors for the spatial variability and characteristics of Fe-bound OC.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [3];  [1]
  1. Univ. of Nevada, Reno, NV (United States)
  2. Desert Research Inst. (DRI), Reno, NV (United States)
  3. Canadian Light Sources, Inc., Saskatoon, SK (Canada); Univ. of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK (Canada)
  4. Canadian Light Sources, Inc., Saskatoon, SK (Canada)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Nevada, Reno, NV (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1306670
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0014275
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Published Article
Journal Name:
Biogeosciences (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Biogeosciences (Online); Journal Volume: 13; Journal Issue: 16; Journal ID: ISSN 1726-4189
Publisher:
European Geosciences Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES

Citation Formats

Zhao, Qian, Poulson, Simon R., Obrist, Daniel, Sumaila, Samira, Dynes, James J., McBeth, Joyce M., and Yang, Yu. Iron-bound organic carbon in forest soils: quantification and characterization. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.5194/bg-13-4777-2016.
Zhao, Qian, Poulson, Simon R., Obrist, Daniel, Sumaila, Samira, Dynes, James J., McBeth, Joyce M., & Yang, Yu. Iron-bound organic carbon in forest soils: quantification and characterization. United States. doi:10.5194/bg-13-4777-2016.
Zhao, Qian, Poulson, Simon R., Obrist, Daniel, Sumaila, Samira, Dynes, James J., McBeth, Joyce M., and Yang, Yu. 2016. "Iron-bound organic carbon in forest soils: quantification and characterization". United States. doi:10.5194/bg-13-4777-2016.
@article{osti_1306670,
title = {Iron-bound organic carbon in forest soils: quantification and characterization},
author = {Zhao, Qian and Poulson, Simon R. and Obrist, Daniel and Sumaila, Samira and Dynes, James J. and McBeth, Joyce M. and Yang, Yu},
abstractNote = {Iron oxide minerals play an important role in stabilizing organic carbon (OC) and regulating the biogeochemical cycles of OC on the earth surface. To predict the fate of OC, it is essential to understand the amount, spatial variability, and characteristics of Fe-bound OC in natural soils. In this study, we investigated the concentrations and characteristics of Fe-bound OC in soils collected from 14 forests in the United States and determined the impact of ecogeographical variables and soil physicochemical properties on the association of OC and Fe minerals. On average, Fe-bound OC contributed 37.8 % of total OC (TOC) in forest soils. Atomic ratios of OC : Fe ranged from 0.56 to 17.7, with values of 1–10 for most samples, and the ratios indicate the importance of both sorptive and incorporative interactions. The fraction of Fe-bound OC in TOC (fFe-OC) was not related to the concentration of reactive Fe, which suggests that the importance of association with Fe in OC accumulation was not governed by the concentration of reactive Fe. Concentrations of Fe-bound OC and fFe-OC increased with latitude and reached peak values at a site with a mean annual temperature of 6.6 °C. Attenuated total reflectance–Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) and near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) analyses revealed that Fe-bound OC was less aliphatic than non-Fe-bound OC. Fe-bound OC also was more enriched in 13C compared to the non-Fe-bound OC, but C/N ratios did not differ substantially. In summary, 13C-enriched OC with less aliphatic carbon and more carboxylic carbon was associated with Fe minerals in the soils, with values of fFe-OC being controlled by both sorptive and incorporative associations between Fe and OC. Overall, this study demonstrates that Fe oxides play an important role in regulating the biogeochemical cycles of C in forest soils and uncovers the governing factors for the spatial variability and characteristics of Fe-bound OC.},
doi = {10.5194/bg-13-4777-2016},
journal = {Biogeosciences (Online)},
number = 16,
volume = 13,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 8
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record at 10.5194/bg-13-4777-2016

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  • Iron oxide minerals play an important role in stabilizing organic carbon (OC) and regulating the biogeochemical cycles of OC on the earth surface. To predict the fate of OC, it is essential to understand the amount, spatial variability, and characteristics of Fe-bound OC in natural soils. In this study, we investigated the concentrations and characteristics of Fe-bound OC in soils collected from 14 forests in the United States and determined the impact of ecogeographical variables and soil physicochemical properties on the association of OC and Fe minerals. On average, Fe-bound OC contributed 37.8 % of total OC (TOC) in forestmore » soils. Atomic ratios of OC : Fe ranged from 0.56 to 17.7, with values of 1–10 for most samples, and the ratios indicate the importance of both sorptive and incorporative interactions. The fraction of Fe-bound OC in TOC (fFe-OC) was not related to the concentration of reactive Fe, which suggests that the importance of association with Fe in OC accumulation was not governed by the concentration of reactive Fe. Concentrations of Fe-bound OC and fFe-OC increased with latitude and reached peak values at a site with a mean annual temperature of 6.6 °C. Attenuated total reflectance–Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) and near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) analyses revealed that Fe-bound OC was less aliphatic than non-Fe-bound OC. Fe-bound OC also was more enriched in 13C compared to the non-Fe-bound OC, but C/N ratios did not differ substantially. In summary, 13C-enriched OC with less aliphatic carbon and more carboxylic carbon was associated with Fe minerals in the soils, with values of fFe-OC being controlled by both sorptive and incorporative associations between Fe and OC. Overall, this study demonstrates that Fe oxides play an important role in regulating the biogeochemical cycles of C in forest soils and uncovers the governing factors for the spatial variability and characteristics of Fe-bound OC.« less
  • Soil organic carbon (SOC) can be stabilized via association with iron (Fe) and aluminum (Al) minerals. Fe and Al can be strong predictors of SOC storage and turnover in soils with relatively high extractable metals content and moderately acidic to circumneutral pH. Here we test whether pedogenic Fe and Al influence SOC content and turnover in soils with low Fe and Al content and acidic pH. In soils from four sites spanning three soil orders, we quantified the amount of Fe and Al in operationally-defined poorly crystalline and organically-complexed phases using selective chemical dissolution applied to the soil fraction containingmore » mineral-associated carbon. We evaluated the correlations of Fe and Al concentrations, mean annual precipitation (MAP), mean annual temperature (MAT), and pH with SOC content and 14C-based turnover times. We found that poorly crystalline Fe and Al content predicted SOC turnover times (p < 0.0001) consistent with findings of previous studies, while organically-complexed Fe and Al content was a better predictor of SOC concentration (p < 0.0001). Greater site-level MAP (p < 0.0001) and colder site-level MAT (p < 0.0001) were correlated with longer SOC turnover times but were not correlated with SOC content. Our results suggest that poorly crystalline Fe and Al effectively slow the turnover of SOC in these acidic soils, even when their combined content in the soil is less than 2% by mass. However, in the strongly acidic Spodosol, organo-metal complexes tended to be less stable resulting in a more actively cycling mineral-associated SOC pool.« less
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