Regular Articles

Sciences of Soils

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 11-22

First online:

CO2 efflux by rapid decomposition of low molecular organic substances in soils

  • Y. KuzyakovAffiliated withInstitute of Soil Science and Land Evaluation, University of Hohenheim Email author 
  • , V. DeminAffiliated withDepartment. of Soil Chemistry, Moscow State University

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Decomposition rates of the [2-14C]-glucose and [2-14C]-glycine in four different soils of the long-term field trial of Moscow were investigated in a 3-months laboratory experiment in which 14CO2 respiration was measured. A model with three decomposition components and two distribution parameters was developed and validated with the data of the experiment. The decay rate constants of free [2-14C]-glucose (4–32 day-1) were slower than those of [2-14C]-glycine (16–44 day-1). The calculated use efficiency for microbial biosynthesis of the second carbon atom was 47% for glucose and 31% for glycine. The potential half-life of labelled carbon in the microbial soil biomass ranged from 0.6 to 4.4 days, depending on the soil type and the initial amount of added substrate. The calculated total utilisation of carbon by the soil biomass from glycine was about 2–5 times lower than that of glucose.

The modelled 14C incorporation into the microbial soil biomass reached its maximum on the first day of the incubation experiment and did not exceed 22% of the 14C input. Both of the investigated substances decomposed most rapidly in the soil samples from sites that have not being fertilised with organic or mineral fertilisers during an 81-years period.

Key words

Glucose Glucose Decomposition kinetics Modelling Microbial soil biomass CO2 14C