, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 35–70 | Cite as

The retention of organic matter in soils

  • J. M. Oades


The turnover of C in soils is controlled mainly by water regimes and temperature, but is modified by factors such as size and physicochemical properties of C additions in litter or root systems, distribution of C throughout the soil as root systems, or addition as litter, distribution of C within the soil matrix and its interaction with clay surfaces.

Soil factors which retard mineralization of C in soils are identified from correlations of C contents of soils with other properties such as clay content and base status. The rate and extent of C mineralization depends on the chemistry of the added organic matter and interaction with clays of the microbial biomass and metabolites.

The organomineral interactions are shown to depend on cation bridges involving mainly Ca in neutral to alkaline soils, Al in acid soils and adsorption of organic materials on iron oxide surfaces. The various organomineral interactions lead to aggregations of clay particles and organic materials, which stabilizes both soil structure and the carbon compounds within the aggregates.

Key words

organic matter turnover organomineral interactions clay base status cation bridges oxide surfaces 


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhof/Dr W. Junk Publishers 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Oades
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Soil Science, Waite Agricultural Research InstituteThe University of AdelaideGlen OsmondSouth Australia

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