Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 571–581 | Cite as

Similarities in chemical composition of soil organic matter across a millennia-old paddy soil chronosequence as revealed by advanced solid-state NMR spectroscopy

  • Zhigao Zhou
  • Xiaoyan Cao
  • Klaus Schmidt-Rohr
  • Daniel C. Olk
  • Shunyao Zhuang
  • Jing Zhou
  • Zhihong Cao
  • Jingdong MaoEmail author
Original Paper


This study examined the chemical composition of soil organic matter (SOM) along a 2,000-year paddy soil chronosequence in eastern China by use of advanced solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy as well as Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), aiming to identify changes in the chemical composition of SOM over a millennium timescale. The results showed that soil organic carbon concentration in the surface soil reached a steady state after 100 years of rice (Oryza sativa L.)–wheat (Triticum sp.) cropping on coastal tidal flats. The 13C NMR spectra and fractions of structural groups or components of the whole SOM samples differed little along the chronosequence, suggesting a similar chemical composition in SOM samples regardless of the duration of rice cultivation. The FTIR spectral pattern and relative intensities of some resolved functional groups or components of whole SOM were also similar along the soil chronosequence. The similarities in chemical composition of SOM can be attributed to the rice–wheat cropping system, in which SOM has undergone ongoing turnover under periodical fresh plant material input and wet–dry cropping alternation, leading to a similar chemical composition of bulk SOM.


Soil organic matter Chemical composition Paddy soil chronosequence NMR FTIR 



We would like to thank the National Science Foundation (EAR-1226323) for partial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhigao Zhou
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Xiaoyan Cao
    • 1
    • 5
  • Klaus Schmidt-Rohr
    • 2
  • Daniel C. Olk
    • 3
  • Shunyao Zhuang
    • 4
  • Jing Zhou
    • 4
  • Zhihong Cao
    • 4
  • Jingdong Mao
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, Hach HallIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  3. 3.USDA-ARS, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the EnvironmentAmesUSA
  4. 4.Institute of Soil ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  5. 5.Department of Chemistry, College of SciencesNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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