Article

Biogeochemistry

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 341-365

First online:

Localization of iron-reducing activity in paddy soilby profile studies

  • Stefan RateringAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für TerrestrischeMikrobiologie
  • , Sylvia SchnellAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für TerrestrischeMikrobiologie

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Abstract

Profiles of iron speciations (porewaterFe(II) and Fe(III), solid-phase Fe(II) andFe(III)) have been studied to localize both ironreduction and oxidation in flooded paddy soil. Sulfateand nitrate were determined to analyze interactions ofredox reactions involved in the iron cycle with thoseof the sulfur and nitrogen cycle. The development ofthe iron(II) and iron(III) profiles was observed inmicroscale over a time period of 11 weeks. After 11weeks the profiles were stable and showed lowestconcentrations of solid-phase iron(II) on the soilsurface with increasing concentrations to a soil depthof 10 mm (≈ 100 µmol/cm3). Profilesof iron(III) showed a maximum of iron(III) at a depthof 2 to 4 mm (≈ 100--200 µmol/cm3).Porewater iron(II) concentrations were three orders ofmagnitude lower than extracted iron(II) and indicatedthat most iron(II) was adsorbed to the solid-phase orimmobilized as siderite and vivianite. Diffusive lossof iron from the soil was indicated by iron recovery(0.3 µmol gdw−1) in the flooding water after12 weeks. The organic content of the soil influencedthe concentrations of solid-phase iron(II) in deepersoil layers (> 6 mm); higher Fe(II) concentrationsin soil with limiting amounts of electron donors mayindicate lower consumption of CO2 by methanogenicbacteria and therefore a higher sideriteprecipitation. Soil planted with rice showed similariron(II) profiles of fresh paddy soil cores. However,maximal iron(III) concentrations (≈ 350µmol/cm3) were present in planted soil at adepth of 1 to 2.5 mm where oxygen is provided by a matof fine roots. Sulfate and nitrate concentrations inthe porewater were highest on the soil surface (10µM NO3 , 40 µM SO4 2−) anddecreased with depth. Similar profiles were detectedfor malate, acetate, lactate, and propionate, theconcentrations decreased gradually from the surface toa depth of 4 mm. Profiles of oxygen showed highestconcentrations at the surface due to photosyntheticproduction and a depletion of oxygen below 3 mm depth.Methane production rates measured from soil layersincubated separately in closed vessels were zero atthe soil surface and increased with depth. In soildepths below 4 mm where iron(III) concentrationsdecreased higher methane production rates werefound.

iron reduction iron oxidation iron(II) and iron(III) depth profiles paddy soil redox gradients