Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 100–110

In-source pyrolysis-field ionization mass spectrometry and Curie-point pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry of amino acids in humic substances and soils

  • C. Sorge
  • M. Schnitzer
  • H. -R. Schulten
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00369410

Cite this article as:
Sorge, C., Schnitzer, M. & Schulten, H.R. Biol Fert Soils (1993) 16: 100. doi:10.1007/BF00369410

Abstract

With the aid of in-source pyrolysis-field ionization mass spectrometry (Py-FIMS) and Curie-point pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (cPy-GC/MS) in the conventional electron impact mode, characteristic signals of 23 amino acid standards were described. Thermal and mass spectrometric fragmentation pathways of these amino acids differed with each method and complemented each other. Pyrolysis products assigned by Py-FIMS extended the range of signals for N-containing compounds in humic substances and soil organic matter and gave marker signals for free amino acids and their subunits in proteinaceous materials. These characteristic signals were correlated with the amino acid content in N-rich humic fractions consisting of seven fulvic acids and eight humic acids. The selected marker signals reflected 25–84% of the variances of the molar distribution of acidic, neutral, neutral aromatic, and basic amino acids in the humic fractions. In addition, a well described agricultural soil (0.08% amino acid N) was spiked with a standard amino acid mixture (0.08 mg amino acid N 100 mg-1 dry soil) and produced enhancements of the relative abundances of the corresponding amino acid signals. Moreover, for 27 samples of whole agricultural soils of widely different origins, soil types, and vegetations, 15 selected amino acid indicators were correlated significantly with α-amino N (r=0.76***) and total N (r=0.65***).

Key words

Amino acids Curie-point pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry Humic fractions Pyrolysis-field ionization mass spectrometry Soil nitrogen 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Sorge
    • 1
  • M. Schnitzer
    • 2
  • H. -R. Schulten
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Trace AnalysisFachhochschule FreseniusWiesbadenGermany
  2. 2.Centre for Land and Biological Resources Research, Research BranchAgriculture CanadaOttawaCanada

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