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Title: What do we know about soil carbon destabilization?

Abstract

Most empirical and modeling research on soil carbon (C) dynamics has focused on those processes that control and promote C stabilization. However, we lack a strong, generalizable understanding of the mechanisms through which soil organic carbon (SOC) is destabilized in soils. Destabilization includes processes that occur along a spectrum through which SOC shifts from a “protected” state to an “available” state to microbial cells where it can be mineralized to gaseous forms or to soluble forms that are then lost from the soil system. These processes fall into three general categories: (1) Release from physical occlusion through processes such as tillage, bioturbation, or freeze-thaw and wetting-drying cycles; (2) C desorption from soil solids and colloids; and (3) Increased C metabolism. Many processes that stabilize soil C can also destabilize C, and C gain or loss depends on the balance between competing reactions. For example, earthworms may both stabilize C through aggregate destruction, but may also create new aggregates and redistribute C into mineral horizon. Similarly, mycorrhizae and roots form new soil C but may also destabilize old soil C through priming and promoting microbial mining; labile C inputs cause C stabilization through increased carbon use efficiency or may fuel priming.more » Changes to the soil environment that affect the solubility of minerals or change the relative surfaces charges of minerals can destabilize SOC, including increased pH or in the reductive dissolution of Fe-bearing minerals. By considering these different physical, chemical, and biological controls as processes that contribute to soil C destabilization, we can develop thoughtful new hypotheses about the persistence and vulnerability of C in soils and make more accurate and robust predictions of soil C cycling in a changing environment.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]
  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  2. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (United States)
  3. Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1545407
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1572469
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-143015
Journal ID: ISSN 1748-9326
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 14; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 1748-9326
Publisher:
IOP Publishing
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; soil organic carbon; destabilization; physical occlusion; metabolism; bioavailability; priming; Birch effect

Citation Formats

Bailey, Vanessa L., Pries, Caitlin Hicks, and Lajtha, Kate. What do we know about soil carbon destabilization?. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/ab2c11.
Bailey, Vanessa L., Pries, Caitlin Hicks, & Lajtha, Kate. What do we know about soil carbon destabilization?. United States. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/ab2c11.
Bailey, Vanessa L., Pries, Caitlin Hicks, and Lajtha, Kate. Mon . "What do we know about soil carbon destabilization?". United States. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/ab2c11.
@article{osti_1545407,
title = {What do we know about soil carbon destabilization?},
author = {Bailey, Vanessa L. and Pries, Caitlin Hicks and Lajtha, Kate},
abstractNote = {Most empirical and modeling research on soil carbon (C) dynamics has focused on those processes that control and promote C stabilization. However, we lack a strong, generalizable understanding of the mechanisms through which soil organic carbon (SOC) is destabilized in soils. Destabilization includes processes that occur along a spectrum through which SOC shifts from a “protected” state to an “available” state to microbial cells where it can be mineralized to gaseous forms or to soluble forms that are then lost from the soil system. These processes fall into three general categories: (1) Release from physical occlusion through processes such as tillage, bioturbation, or freeze-thaw and wetting-drying cycles; (2) C desorption from soil solids and colloids; and (3) Increased C metabolism. Many processes that stabilize soil C can also destabilize C, and C gain or loss depends on the balance between competing reactions. For example, earthworms may both stabilize C through aggregate destruction, but may also create new aggregates and redistribute C into mineral horizon. Similarly, mycorrhizae and roots form new soil C but may also destabilize old soil C through priming and promoting microbial mining; labile C inputs cause C stabilization through increased carbon use efficiency or may fuel priming. Changes to the soil environment that affect the solubility of minerals or change the relative surfaces charges of minerals can destabilize SOC, including increased pH or in the reductive dissolution of Fe-bearing minerals. By considering these different physical, chemical, and biological controls as processes that contribute to soil C destabilization, we can develop thoughtful new hypotheses about the persistence and vulnerability of C in soils and make more accurate and robust predictions of soil C cycling in a changing environment.},
doi = {10.1088/1748-9326/ab2c11},
journal = {Environmental Research Letters},
number = 8,
volume = 14,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {7}
}

Journal Article:
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DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab2c11

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Soil carbon dioxide emissions in response to precipitation frequency in the Loess Plateau, China
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Warming and drying suppress microbial activity and carbon cycling in boreal forest soils
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Breaking ground: Pedological, geological, and ecological implications of soil bioturbation
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A Proposed Mechanism for the Pulse in Carbon Dioxide Production Commonly Observed Following the Rapid Rewetting of a Dry Soil
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The effects of soil freeze–thaw on soil aggregate breakdown and concomitant sediment flow in Prince Edward Island: A review
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journal, March 2012

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Effects of drying–rewetting frequency on soil carbon and nitrogen transformations
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Soil microbial and nutrient dynamics in a wet Arctic sedge meadow in late winter and early spring
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Limits to soil carbon stability; Deep, ancient soil carbon decomposition stimulated by new labile organic inputs
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Iron-bound organic carbon in forest soils: quantification and characterization
journal, January 2016


Coupled dynamics of iron and iron-bound organic carbon in forest soils during anaerobic reduction
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Soil-carbon response to warming dependent on microbial physiology
journal, April 2010

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Microbial physiology and necromass regulate agricultural soil carbon accumulation
journal, December 2015


Hysteresis in the sorption and desorption of hydrophobic organic contaminants by soils and sediments
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Particles interaction forces and their effects on soil aggregates breakdown
journal, April 2015


Responses of soil heterotrophic respiration to moisture availability: An exploration of processes and models
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Aggregate-Protected Carbon in No-tillage and Conventional Tillage Agroecosystems Using Carbon-14 Labeled Plant Residue
journal, January 2002

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Stability of organic carbon in deep soil layers controlled by fresh carbon supply
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Colloid Mobilization During Soil Iron Redox Oscillations
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Carbon storage in post-mining forest soil, the role of tree biomass and soil bioturbation
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