The C/N ratio and phenolic groups of exogenous dissolved organic matter together as an indicator for evaluating the stability of mineral-organic associations in red soil

Abstract

Purpose

Mineral-organic associations (MOAs) are the basic structural units of soil aggregates and are important reservoirs of nutrients for plants and soil microorganisms, determining the soil structure and fertility. However, the influence of exogenous dissolved organic matter (DOM) chemistry on the stability of MOAs is rarely reported.

Materials and methods

We first characterized different exogenous DOM through elemental analysis and spectroscopy analysis technologies. Then, a chamber incubation experiment was conducted with DOM addition concentration at 3 g C kg−1 red soil. Principal component analysis, redundancy analysis, and the partial least squares path model were used to better understand the effect of exogenous DOM chemistry on the stability of MOAs.

Results and discussion

The addition of DOM into the red soil significantly increased not only the organic carbon both in the bulk soil and the soil heavy fraction, but also the soil combined humus and the soil mineral-organic compound quantity. Moreover, the rice straw-derived DOM had the best effect on improving the soil mineral-organic compound quantity/degree (additional), followed by the animal-derived DOM, while the fulvic acid increased it the least. The ratios of elements (C/N ratio, O/C ratio, and H/C ratio), aromaticity (SUVA254), and phenolic C content of exogenous DOM had positively significant contributions to the stability of MOAs.

Conclusions

The rice straw-derived DOM had the greatest enhancement on the stability of the MOAs for its higher C/N ratio and phenolic groups content, so the exogenous DOM characteristics could be as an indicator in predicting the stability of the MOAs and evaluating the soil fertility.

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Acknowledgments

This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 41671308); the Science Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (grant no. CAAS-ASTIP-2016-IEDA).

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Correspondence to Xibai Zeng.

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Zhang, X., Wang, Y., Wen, J. et al. The C/N ratio and phenolic groups of exogenous dissolved organic matter together as an indicator for evaluating the stability of mineral-organic associations in red soil. J Soils Sediments 21, 821–831 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11368-020-02874-y

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Keywords

  • Dissolved organic matter
  • Organic functional groups
  • Soil combined humus
  • Mineral-organic associations
  • Red soil