Climatic Change

, Volume 67, Issue 2–3, pp 329–343 | Cite as

Sequestration of a Biologically Labile Organic Carbon in Soils by Humified Organic Matter

  • Allessandro PiccoloEmail author
  • Riccardo Spaccini
  • Rolf Nieder
  • Joerg Richter


In a long-term (one year) experiment, a sandy Podzol and a silty-loamy Loess soil were treated with labile (polysaccharides, AG) and stable (mature compost, CMP, and two humic acids from compost, HAC, and lignite, HAL) organic matter and the organic carbon (OC) lost by mineralization was periodically evaluated. The stable materials alone induced a significant reduction of OC losses in Podzol CMP <, HAL, <, HAC, Control), whereas the same treatments, except for CMP, produced an OC loss larger than control in Loess. This was attributed to the diverse textural and physical status of the two soils. The added stable organic matter became protected in the Podzol soil within the aggregates formed by the interaction with the coarse inorganic phase, while it was more easily decomposed in the Loess soils due to the strength of the native humic-clay complexes. In both soils, when the stable organic materials were mixed with polysaccharides (AG), the OC losses from this labile fraction were significantly reduced, being CMP more OC sequestering than HAC and HAL, in the order. These results confirmed that labile organic matter in soils can be protected from biodegradation by repartition into the hydrophobic domains of the stable, humified organic matter. This study suggests that mature compost and humic acids may usefully integrate management practices aimed to sequester organic carbon in soils.


Organic Matter Polysaccharide Organic Carbon Biodegradation Humic Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allessandro Piccolo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Riccardo Spaccini
    • 1
  • Rolf Nieder
    • 2
  • Joerg Richter
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze del Suolo, della Pianta e dell’AmbientePorticiItaly
  2. 2.Institute of Geoecology, Technical University of BraunschweigBraunschweigGermany

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