Biodegradation of low molecular weight organic compounds and their contribution to heterotrophic soil respiration in three Japanese forest soils
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- Fujii, K., Hayakawa, C., Van Hees, P.A.W. et al. Plant Soil (2010) 334: 475. doi:10.1007/s11104-010-0398-y
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Low molecular weight (LMW) organic compounds in soil solution could be important substrates for heterotrophic soil respiration. The importance of LMW organic compound mineralization in heterotrophic soil respiration needs to be confirmed for different types of soils. The concentrations of LMW organic compounds in soil solution and mineralization kinetics of 14C-radiolabelled glucose, acetate, oxalate and citrate were studied in three Japanese forest soils (Andisol, Spodosol and Inceptisol) with varying adsorption capacities. Based on those results, the fluxes of LMW organic compound mineralization and their magnitude relative to heterotrophic soil respiration were quantified. Monosaccharides and organic acids comprised on average 5.9–11.2% and 0.9–1.4% of dissolved organic carbon in soil solution, respectively. Monosaccharide mineralization make up 49–74% of heterotrophic (basal) soil respiration at the soil-profile scale, while organic acid mineralization accounts for between 5% (Andisol) and 47–58% (Spodosol and Inceptisol) of heterotrophic soil respiration. The mineralization of LMW organic compounds is a substantial fraction of heterotrophic soil respiration regardless of soil type, owing to their rapid and continuous production and consumption. The specific contribution of organic acid mineralization to heterotrophic soil respiration varies depending on soil adsorption capacities, namely iron and aluminum oxides.