Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 523–531

Distribution and fate of 13C-labeled root and straw residues from ryegrass and crimson clover in soil under western Oregon field conditions

  • Mark A. Williams
  • David D. Myrold
  • Peter J. Bottomley
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00374-005-0046-5

Cite this article as:
Williams, M.A., Myrold, D.D. & Bottomley, P.J. Biol Fertil Soils (2006) 42: 523. doi:10.1007/s00374-005-0046-5


Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) and crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.) were pulse-labeled with 13C-CO2 in the field between the initiation of late winter growth (mid-February) and through flowering and seed formation (late May). Straw was harvested after seed maturation (July), and soil containing 13C-labeled roots and root-derived C was left in the field until September. 13C-enriched and 13C-unenriched straw residues of each species were mixed in factorial combinations with soil containing either 13C-enriched or 13C-unenriched root-derived C and incubated in the field for 10 months. The contributions of C derived from straw, roots, and soil were measured in soil microbial biomass C, respired C, and soil C on five occasions after residue incorporation (September, October, November, April, and June). At straw incorporation (September), 25–30% of soil microbial biomass C was derived from root C in both ryegrass and clover treatments, and this value was sustained in the ryegrass treatment from September to April but declined in the clover treatment. By October, between 20 and 30% of soil microbial biomass C was derived from straw, with the percentage contribution from clover straw generally exceeding that from ryegrass straw throughout the incubation. By June, ryegrass root-derived C contributed 5.5% of the soil C pool, which was significantly greater than the contributions from any of the three other residue types (about 1.5%). This work has provided a framework for more studies of finer scale that should focus on the interactions between residue quality, soil organic matter C, and specific members of the soil microbial community.


13C labeling Annual ryegrass Crimson clover Straw and root C decomposition Soil C 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark A. Williams
    • 1
  • David D. Myrold
    • 2
  • Peter J. Bottomley
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Crop and Soil SciencesUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Department of Crop and Soil ScienceOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  3. 3.Department of MicrobiologyOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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