Hydrobiologia

, Volume 389, Issue 1–3, pp 153–167 | Cite as

Loss-on-ignition estimates of organic matter and relationships to organic carbon in fluvial bed sediments

  • Ross A. Sutherland

Abstract

Fluvial bed sediments represent an important sink and source for a variety of organic and inorganic compounds. Their most important constituent is organic matter (OM) and its primary component organic carbon (OC). Few studies have been conducted in fluvial environments examining bed-associated OM or OC. This is surprising given the recent interest in global carbon cycling and the importance of bed-associated organics as ecosystem energy sources. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between OM, determined by loss-on-ignition (LOI), and OC in fluvial bed sediments determined by a dry combustion analyzer. The wide adoption of the LOI method in soil science reflects its ease of use, it is inexpensive, it is rapid, requires no specialized training, and strong statistical relationships commonly exist between OM and OC estimated by standard dry combustion procedures. Regression models were developed between OC and OM for six bed sediment size fractions (≤2.0 mm) for 113 sample sites in a tropical stream on Oahu, Hawaii. All models were highly significant (p < 0.0001), with coefficients of determination ranging from 35 to 79%. Measurement of LOI explained 64% of the variation in OC for all grouped data. The black-box LOI approach may be useful for rapid reconnaissance surveys of drainage systems. Examination of OM to OC conversion factors for Manoa bed sediments indicates that values typically observed in the soils literature (1.7–2.2) are far too low. Values of OM/OC were found to increase with increasing grain size, and decrease with increasing LOI percentage. Conversion factors obtained for grouped data had a mean of 14.9, a coefficient of variation of 21%, and a range of values between 6.2 and 27.4. It is suggested that these high conversion factors reflect significant water loss by dehydration of Fe, Al, and Mn oxides at a muffle furnace temperature of 450 °C. Therefore, the blind application of conversion factors developed from soils should be avoided when converting from OM to OC for fluvial bed sediments.

tropical stream organic matter organic carbon conversion factors grain size partitioning Hawaii 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Abbt-Braun, G. & F. H. Frimmel, 1996. Interaction of pesticides with river sediments and characterization of organic matter of the sediments. In W. Calmano & U. Forstner (eds), Sediments and Toxic Substances: Environmental Effects and Ecotoxicity. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany: 51–89.Google Scholar
  2. Allison, L. E., 1965. Organic carbon. In C. A. Black (ed.), Methods of Soil Analysis, Part 2: Chemical and Microbiological Properties. American Society of Agronomy, Inc., Number 9, Madison, Wisconsin: 1367–1378.Google Scholar
  3. Ball, D. F., 1964. Loss-on-ignition as an estimate of organic matter and organic carbon in non-calcareous soils. J. Soil Science 15 (1): 84–92.Google Scholar
  4. Ballinger, D. G. & G. D. McKee, 1971. Chemical characterization of bottom sediment. J. Wat. Pollut. Cont. Fed. 43 (2): 216–227.Google Scholar
  5. Ben-Dor, E. & A. Banin, 1989. Determination of organic matter content in arid-zone soils using a simple ‘loss-on-ignition’ method. Communications in Soil Science & Plant Analysis 20 (15 & 16): 1675–1695.Google Scholar
  6. Bissell, A. F., 1992. Lines through the origin: Is NO INT the answer? Journal of Applied Statistics 19 (2): 193–210.Google Scholar
  7. Boon, P. I., 1990. Organic matter degradation and nutrient regeneration in Australian freshwaters: II. Spatial and temporal variation, and relation with environmental conditions. Arch. Hydrobiol. 117 (4): 405–436.Google Scholar
  8. Broadbent, F. E., 1953. The soil organic fraction. Advances in Agronomy 5: 153–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carr, C. E., 1973. Gravimetric determination of soil carbon using the LECO induction furnace. J. Science of Food & Agriculture 24: 1091–1095.Google Scholar
  10. Charles, M. J. & M. S. Simmons, 1986. Methods for the determination of carbon in soils and sediments: A review. Analyst 111: 385–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Christensen, B. T. & P. A. Malmros, 1982. Loss-on-ignition and carbon content in a beech forest soil profile. Holarct. Ecol. 5: 376–380.Google Scholar
  12. Cleveland, W. S. & S. J. Devlin, 1988. Locally weighted regression: An approach to regression analysis by local fitting. J. American Statistical Association 83: 596–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Covington, W.W., 1981. Changes in forest floor organic matter and nutrient content following clear cutting in northern hardwoods. Ecology 62 (1): 41–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Craft, C. B., E. D. Seneca & S. W. Broome, 1991. Loss on ignition and Kjeldahl digestion for estimating organic carbon and total nitrogen in estuarine marsh soils: Calibration with dry combustion. Estuaries 14 (2): 175–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. David, M. B., 1988. Use of loss-on-ignition to assess soil organic carbon in forest soils. Communications in Soil Science & Plant Analysis 19 (14): 1593–1599.Google Scholar
  16. Davies, B. E., 1974. Loss-on-ignition as an estimate of soil organic matter. Soil Science Society of America Proceedings 38: 150– 151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dobrovolsky, V. V., 1994. Biogeochemistry of the World's Land. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, FL, 362 pp.Google Scholar
  18. Donkin, M. J., 1991. Loss-on-ignition as an estimator of soil organic carbon in A-horizon forestry soils. Communications in Soil Science & Plant Analysis 22 (3 & 4): 233–241.Google Scholar
  19. Epstein, M. S., B. I. Diamondstone & T. E. Gills, 1989. A new river sediment standard reference material. Talanta 36 (1/2): 141–150.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Evans, K. M., R. A. Gill & P. W. J. Robotham, 1990. The PAH and organic content of sediment particle size fractions. Wat. Air Soil Pollut. 51: 13–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fan, P-F., R. Ng & D. Remular, 1995. Mineral assemblages of the sediments of the Ala Wai Canal and its drainage basins, Oahu, Hawaii. Pacific Science 49 (4): 400–411.Google Scholar
  22. Frigge, M., D. C. Hoaglin & B. Iglewiez, 1989. Some implementations of the boxplot. The American Statistician 43 (1): 50–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gagnier, D. L. & R. C. Bailey, 1994. Balancing loss of information and gains in efficiency in characterizing stream sediment samples. J. North American Benthological Society 13 (2): 170–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gallardo, J F., J. Saavedra, T. Martin-Pation & A. Millan, 1987. Soil organic matter determination. Communications in Soil Science & Plant Analysis 18 (6): 699–707.Google Scholar
  25. Gibbs, R. J., 1977. Effect of combustion temperature and time, and of the oxidation agent used in organic carbon and nitrogen analyses of sediments and dissolved organic material. J. Sedimentary Petrology 47 (2): 547–550.Google Scholar
  26. Goldin, A., 1987. Reassessing the use of loss-on-ignition for estimating organic matter content in noncalcareous soils. Communications in Soil Science & Plant Analysis 18 (9): 1111–1116.Google Scholar
  27. Gosz, J. R., G. E. Likens & F. H. Bormann, 1976. Organic matter and nutrient dynamics of the forest floor in the Hubbard Brook forest. Oecologia 22: 305–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Grewal, K. S., G. D. Buchan & R. R. Sherlock, 1991. A comparison of three methods of organic carbon determination in some New Zealand soils. J. Soil Science 42: 251–257.Google Scholar
  29. Heanes, D. L., 1984. Determination of total organic-C in soils by an improved chromic acid digestion and spectrophotometric procedure. Communications in Soil Science & Plant Analysis 15 (10): 1191–1213.Google Scholar
  30. Hirota, J. & J. P. Szyper, 1975. Separation of total particulate carbon into inorganic and organic components. Limnol. & Oceanogr. 20 (5): 896–900.Google Scholar
  31. Honeysett, J. L. & D. A. Ratkowsky, 1989. The use of ignition loss to estimate bulk density of forest soils. J. Soil Science 40: 299– 308.Google Scholar
  32. Hope, D., M. F. Billett & M. S. Cresser, 1997. Exports of organic carbon in two river systems in NE Scotland. J. Hydrology 193: 61–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Horowitz, A. J., 1991. A Primer on Sediment-trace Element Chemistry, 2nd edn. Lewis Publishers, Chelsea, Michigan.Google Scholar
  34. Howard, P. J. A., 1965. The carbon-organic matter factor in various soil types. Oikos 15: 229–236.Google Scholar
  35. Howard, P. J. A. & D. M. Howard, 1990. Use of organic carbon and loss-on-ignition to estimate soil organic matter in different soil types and horizons. Biology & Fertility of Soils 9: 306–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Jimenez, R. R. & J. K. Ladha, 1993. Automated elemental analysis: A rapid and reliable but expensive measurement of total carbon and nitrogen in plant and soil samples. Communications in Soil Science & Plant Analysis 24 (15 & 16): 1897–1924.Google Scholar
  37. Kamp-Nielsen, L., 1989. Sediment-water exchange models. In S. E. Jorgensen & M. J. Gromiec (eds), Mathematical Submodels in Water Quality Systems, Elsevier Science Publishers, Amsterdam: 371–399.Google Scholar
  38. King P., H. Kennedy, P. P. Newton, T. D. Jickells, T. Brand, S. Calvert, G. Cauwet, H. Etcheber, B. Head, A. Khripounoff, B. Manighetti & J. C. Miquel, 1998. Analysis of total and organic carbon and total nitrogen in settling oceanic particles and a marine sediment: An interlaboratory comparison. Marine Chemistry 60: 203–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Krom, M. D. & R. A. Berner, 1983. A rapid method for the determination of organic and carbonate carbon in geological samples. J. Sedimentary Petrology 53 (2): 660–663.Google Scholar
  40. Lowther, J. R., P. J. Smethurst, J. C. Carlyle & E. K. S. Nambiar, 1990. Methods for determining organic carbon in Podzolic sands. Communications in Soil Science & Plant Analysis 21 (5 & 6): 457–470.Google Scholar
  41. Lunt, H. A., 1931. The carbon-organic matter factor in forest soil humus. Soil Science 32: 27–33.Google Scholar
  42. Merry, R. H. & L. R. Spouncer, 1988. The measurement of carbon in soils using a microprocessor-controlled resistance furnace. Communications in Soil Science & Plant Analysis 19 (6): 707–720.Google Scholar
  43. Meyers, P. A. & R. Ishiwatari, 1993. Lacustrine organic geochemistry: An overview of indicators of organic matter sources and diagenesis in lake sediments. Organic Geochemistry 20 (7): 867–900.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Montgomery, D. R. & J. M. Buffington, 1997. Channel-reach morphology in mountain drainage basins. Geological Society of America Bulletin 109 (5): 596–611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mook, D. H. & C. M. Hoskin, 1982. Organic determination by ignition: Caution advised. Estuar. coast. Shelf Sci. 15: 697–699.Google Scholar
  46. Morris, J. T. & G. J. Whiting, 1986. Emission of gaseous carbon dioxide from salt marsh sediments and its relation to other carbon losses. Estuaries 9: 9–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Napier, I. R. 1993. The organic carbon content of gravel bed herring spawning grounds and the impact of herring spawn deposition. J. mar. biol. Ass. (U.K.) 73 (4): 863–870.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Nelson, D. W. & L. E. Sommers, 1996. Total carbon, organic carbon, and organic matter. In: D. L. Sparks, A. L. Page, P. A. Helmke, R. H. Loeppert, P. N. Soltanpour, M. A. Tabatabai, C. T. Johnston & M. E. Sumner (eds), Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 3: Chemical Methods. American Society of Agronomy, Inc. and Soil Science Society of America, Inc., Madison, Wisconsin: 961–1010.Google Scholar
  49. Ranney, R. W., 1969. An organic carbon-organic matter conversion equation for Pennsylvania surface soils. Soil Science Society of America Proceedings 33: 809–811.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rhodes, E. R., P. Y. Kamara & P. M. Sutton, 1981. Walkley-Black digestion efficiency and relationship to loss on ignition for selected Sierra Leone soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal 45 (6): 1132–1135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Roelofs, J. G. M., 1983. An instrumental method for the estimation of organic carbon in seston, macrophytes and sediments. Aquatic Botany 16: 391–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rowell, D. L., 1994. Soil Science: Methods and Applications. Longman Scientific & Technical, Essex, England.Google Scholar
  53. Schnitzer, M., 1982. Organic matter characterization. In: A. L. Page (ed.), Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 2: Chemical and Microbiological Properties, 2nd edn. American Society of Agronomy, Inc. and Soil Science Society of America, Inc., Madison, Wisconsin: 581–594.Google Scholar
  54. Schorer, M., 1997. Pollutant and organic matter content in sediment particle size fractions. International Association of Hydrological Sciences Publ. No. 243: 59–67.Google Scholar
  55. Schulte, E. E., C. Kaufmann & J. B. Peter, 1991. The influence of sample size and heating time on soil weight loss-on-ignition. Communications in Soil Science & Plant Analysis 22: 159–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Soon, Y. K. & S. Abboud, 1991. A comparison of some methods for soil organic carbon determination. Communications in Soil Science & Plant Analysis 22 (9 & 10): 943–954.Google Scholar
  57. Spain, A. V., M. E. Probert, R. F. Isbell & R. D. John, 1982. Loss-on-ignition and the carbon contents of Australian soils. Australian J. Soil Res. 20: 147–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stevenson, F. J., 1994. Humus Chemistry: Genesis, Composition, Reactions, 2nd edn. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, NY, 496 pp.Google Scholar
  59. Storer, D. A., 1984. A simple high sample volume ashing procedure for determination of soil organic matter. Communications in Soil Science & Plant Analysis 15 (7): 759–772.Google Scholar
  60. Sutherland, R. A., R. L. Watung & S. A. Waifster, 1996. Splash transport of organic carbon and associated concentration and mass enrichment ratios for an Oxisol, Hawaii. Earth Surface Processes & Landforms 21: 1145–1162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Tukey, J. W., 1977. Exploratory Data Analysis. Reading, Massachusetts, Addison-Wesley, Publishing Co., Inc., 688 pp.Google Scholar
  62. Van Der Perk, M. & P. F. M. Van Gaans, 1997. Variation in composition of stream bed sediments in a small watercourse. Wat. Air Soil Pollut. 96: 107–131.Google Scholar
  63. Walinga, I., M. Kithome, I. Novozamsky, V. J. G. Houba & J. J. Van Der Lee, 1992. Spectrophotometric determination of organic carbon in soil. Communications in Soil Science & Plant Analysis 23 (15 & 16): 1935–1944.Google Scholar
  64. Wang, X. J., P. J. Smethurst & A. M. Herbert, 1996. Relationships between three measures of organic matter or carbon in soils of eucalypt plantations in Tasmania. Australian J. Soil Res. 34: 545–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Weliky, K., E. Suess, C. A. Ungerer, P. J. Muller, & K. Fischer, 1983. Problems with accurate carbon measurements in marine sediments and particulate matter in seawater: A new approach. Limnol. Oceanogr. 28 (6): 1252–1259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zar, J. H., 1996. Biostatistical Analysis, 3rd edn. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 662 pp. + Appendices and References.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ross A. Sutherland
    • 1
  1. 1.Geomorphology Laboratory, Department of GeographyUniversity of HawaiiHonolulu

Personalised recommendations