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Title: Organic Matter Stabilization in Soil Microaggregates: Implications from Spatial Heterogeneity of Organic Carbon Contents and Carbon Forms

Abstract

This study investigates the spatial distribution of organic carbon (C) in free stable microaggregates (20-250 {mu}m; not encapsulated within macroaggregates) from one Inceptisol and two Oxisols in relation to current theories of the mechanisms of their formation. Two-dimensional micro- and nano-scale observations using synchrotron-based Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) and near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy yielded maps of the distribution of C amounts and chemical forms. Carbon deposits were unevenly distributed within microaggregates and did not show any discernable gradients between interior and exterior of aggregates. Rather, C deposits appeared to be patchy within the microaggregates. In contrast to the random location of C, there were micron-scale patterns in the spatial distribution of aliphatic C-H (2922 cm-1), aromatic C=C and N-H (1589 cm-1) and polysaccharide C-O (1035 cm-1). Aliphatic C forms and the ratio of aliphatic C/aromatic C were positively correlated (r 2 of 0.66-0.75 and 0.27-0.59, respectively) to the amount of O-H on kaolinite surfaces (3695 cm-1), pointing at a strong role for organo-mineral interactions in C stabilization within microaggregates and at a possible role for molecules containing aliphatic C-H groups in such interactions. This empirical relationship was supported by nanometer-scale observations using NEXAFS which showed that the organicmore » matter in coatings on mineral surfaces had more aliphatic and carboxylic C with spectral characteristics resembling microbial metabolites than the organic matter of the entire microaggregate. Our observations thus support models of C stabilization in which the initially dominant process is adsorption of organics on mineral surfaces rather than occlusion of organic debris by adhering clay particles.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) National Synchrotron Light Source
Sponsoring Org.:
Doe - Office Of Science
OSTI Identifier:
959639
Report Number(s):
BNL-82625-2009-JA
TRN: US201016%%783
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC02-98CH10886
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Biogeochemistry; Journal Volume: 85
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; ABSORPTION; ADSORPTION; AROMATICS; CARBON; CLAYS; COATINGS; DISTRIBUTION; FINE STRUCTURE; KAOLINITE; METABOLITES; ORGANIC MATTER; POLYSACCHARIDES; SOILS; SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION; SPECTROSCOPY; STABILIZATION; national synchrotron light source

Citation Formats

Lehmann,J., Kinyangi, J., and Solomon, D.. Organic Matter Stabilization in Soil Microaggregates: Implications from Spatial Heterogeneity of Organic Carbon Contents and Carbon Forms. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.1007/s10533-007-9105-3.
Lehmann,J., Kinyangi, J., & Solomon, D.. Organic Matter Stabilization in Soil Microaggregates: Implications from Spatial Heterogeneity of Organic Carbon Contents and Carbon Forms. United States. doi:10.1007/s10533-007-9105-3.
Lehmann,J., Kinyangi, J., and Solomon, D.. Mon . "Organic Matter Stabilization in Soil Microaggregates: Implications from Spatial Heterogeneity of Organic Carbon Contents and Carbon Forms". United States. doi:10.1007/s10533-007-9105-3.
@article{osti_959639,
title = {Organic Matter Stabilization in Soil Microaggregates: Implications from Spatial Heterogeneity of Organic Carbon Contents and Carbon Forms},
author = {Lehmann,J. and Kinyangi, J. and Solomon, D.},
abstractNote = {This study investigates the spatial distribution of organic carbon (C) in free stable microaggregates (20-250 {mu}m; not encapsulated within macroaggregates) from one Inceptisol and two Oxisols in relation to current theories of the mechanisms of their formation. Two-dimensional micro- and nano-scale observations using synchrotron-based Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) and near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy yielded maps of the distribution of C amounts and chemical forms. Carbon deposits were unevenly distributed within microaggregates and did not show any discernable gradients between interior and exterior of aggregates. Rather, C deposits appeared to be patchy within the microaggregates. In contrast to the random location of C, there were micron-scale patterns in the spatial distribution of aliphatic C-H (2922 cm-1), aromatic C=C and N-H (1589 cm-1) and polysaccharide C-O (1035 cm-1). Aliphatic C forms and the ratio of aliphatic C/aromatic C were positively correlated (r 2 of 0.66-0.75 and 0.27-0.59, respectively) to the amount of O-H on kaolinite surfaces (3695 cm-1), pointing at a strong role for organo-mineral interactions in C stabilization within microaggregates and at a possible role for molecules containing aliphatic C-H groups in such interactions. This empirical relationship was supported by nanometer-scale observations using NEXAFS which showed that the organic matter in coatings on mineral surfaces had more aliphatic and carboxylic C with spectral characteristics resembling microbial metabolites than the organic matter of the entire microaggregate. Our observations thus support models of C stabilization in which the initially dominant process is adsorption of organics on mineral surfaces rather than occlusion of organic debris by adhering clay particles.},
doi = {10.1007/s10533-007-9105-3},
journal = {Biogeochemistry},
number = ,
volume = 85,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2007}
}
  • We examined relationships between the pore structure of microaggregates and the protection of organic matter (OM) within that structure. By using ultra-small angle X-ray scattering (USAXS) before and after combustion of microaggregates at 350 degrees C, we took advantage of differences in X-ray scattering contrast among soil minerals, OM, and air to evaluate the distribution of the total- and OM-filled porosity within microaggregates (53-250 {mu}m in diameter). Systematic changes in microaggregate structure were observed for long-term field manipulations of land use (a chronosequence of tallgrass prairie restorations) and agricultural management (conventional tillage versus no-till at two levels of nitrogen fertilization).more » Our results imply that OM preservation arose from the evolution of the architectural system of microaggregates during their formation and stabilization. Soils and treatments with increasing OM in microaggregates were associated with encapsulation of colloidal OM by minerals, thereby creating protected OM-filled pores at the submicron scale within the microaggregate structure. For example, in the prairie chronosequence, microaggregates from the cultivated soil had the lowest concentration of OM, but 75% of the OM that had survived cultivation was in OM-filled pores. Following restoration, the concentration of OM in microaggregates increased rapidly, but the proportion of OM in OM-filled pores declined initially and then increased over time until 90% of the OM was in OM-filled pores. OM totally encapsulated within the pore structure can create spatial and kinetic constraints on microbial access to and degradation of OM. Encapsulation of OM increases the capacity for its protection relative to sorption on mineral surfaces, and comparison of its extent among treatments suggests important feedback loops. The use of USAXS, which has not previously been applied to the study of soil aggregate structures and the distribution of OM within those structures, provided new information on the mechanisms of OM protection in soil microaggregates, and insights relevant to strategies for enhancing carbon-sequestration in soil through changes in agricultural management practices and land use.« less
  • The complexity of the mineral organic carbon interface may influence the extent of stabilization of organic carbon compounds in soils, which is important for global climate futures. The nanoscale structure of a model interface was examined here by depositing films of organic carbon compounds of contrasting chemical character, hydrophilic glucose and amphiphilic stearic acid, onto a soil mineral analogue (Al2O3). Neutron reflectometry, a technique which provides depth-sensitive insight into the organization of the thin films, indicates that glucose molecules reside in a layer between Al2O3 and stearic acid, a result that was verified by water contact angle measurements. Molecular dynamicsmore » simulations reveal the thermodynamic driving force behind glucose partitioning on the mineral interface: The entropic penalty of confining the less mobile glucose on the mineral surface is lower than for stearic acid. The fundamental information obtained here helps rationalize how complex arrangements of organic carbon on soil mineral surfaces may arise« less