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Degradation of softwood [14C lignin] lignocelluloses and its relation to the formation of humic substances in river and pond environments

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Abstract

The fate of lignin in water and sediment of the Garonne river (France) and of a pond in its floodplain was examined using specifically labeled [14C-lignin] lignocelluloses. No significant differences appeared in the mineralization rate of alder, poplar or willow [14C-lignin] in running water samples. Conversion of total radioactivity to 14CO2 ranged between 18.7% and 24.4% after 120 days of incubation. Degree of 14C-labeled lignin mineralization in standing water and sediments was clearly lower, especially in submerged sediments, and was correlated with oxygen supply. After 60 days of incubation 3.3% to 7.9% of the 14C-labeled lignin was recovered in water samples as dissolved organic carbon originating from microbial metabolism. In water extracts from sediment the percentage of dissolved organic 14C was only 0.4% to 1.3% of the applied activity. In the humic fraction extracted from sediments it did not exceed 4.4% which was much lower than in soils. No significant difference appeared between river and pond conditions for humic substances formation.

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Fustec, E., Chauvet, E., Gas, G. et al. Degradation of softwood [14C lignin] lignocelluloses and its relation to the formation of humic substances in river and pond environments. Hydrobiologia 159, 169–176 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00014725

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