Advertisement

Plant and Soil

, Volume 191, Issue 1, pp 77–87 | Cite as

The capacity of soils to preserve organic C and N by their association with clay and silt particles

  • Jan Hassink
Article

Abstract

Although it has been recognized that the adsorption of organics to clay and silt particles is an important determinant of the stability of organic matter in soils, no attempts have been made to quantify the amounts of C and N that can be preserved in this way in different soils. Our hypothesis is that the amounts of C and N that can be associated with clay and silt particles is limited. This study quantifies the relationships between soil texture and the maximum amounts of C and N that can be preserved in the soil by their association with clay and silt particles. To estimate the maximum amounts of C and N that can be associated with clay and silt particles we compared the amounts of clay- and silt-associated C and N in Dutch grassland soils with corresponding Dutch arable soils. Secondly, we compared the amounts of clay- and silt-associated C and N in the Dutch soils with clay and silt-associated C and N in uncultivated soils of temperate and tropical regions.

We observed that although the Dutch arable soils contained less C and N than the corresponding grassland soils, the amounts of C and N associated with clay and silt particles was the same indicating that the amounts of C and N that can become associated with this fraction had reached a maximum. We also observed close positive relationships between the proportion of primary particles < 20 μm in a soil and the amounts of C and N that were associated with this fraction in the top 10 cm of soils from both temperate and tropical regions. The observed relationships were assumed to estimate the capacity of a soil to preserve C and N by their association with clay and silt particles. The observed relationships did not seem to be affected by the dominant type of clay mineral. The only exception were Australian soils, which had on average more than two times lower amounts of C and N associated with clay and silt particles than other soils. This was probably due to the combination of low precipitation and high temperature leading to low inputs of organic C and N.

The amount of C and N in the fraction > 20 μm was not correlated with soil texture. Cultivation decreased the amount of C and N in the fraction > 20 μm to a greater extent than in the fraction < 20 μm, indicating that C and N associated with the fraction < 20 μm is better protected against decomposition.

The finding of a given soil having a maximum capacity to preserve organic C and N will improve our estimations of the amounts of C and N that can become stabilized in soils. It has important consequences for the contribution of different soils to serve as a sink or source for C and N in the long term.

organic C and N protection capacity soil texture 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adams T McM 1980 Macro organic matter content of some Northern Ireland soils. Record Agric. Res. 28, 1-11.Google Scholar
  2. Amato M and Ladd J N 1992 Decomposition of 14C-labelled glucose and legume materials in soil: properties influencing the accumulation of organic residue C and microbial biomass C. Soil Biol. Biochem. 24, 455-464.Google Scholar
  3. Balesdent J, Wagner G H and Mariotti A 1988 Soil organic matter turnover in long-term field experiments as revealed by carbon-13 natural abundance. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 52, 118-124.Google Scholar
  4. Bates J A R 1960 Studies of a Nigerian forest soil. The distribution of organic matter in the profile and in various soil fractions. J. Soil Sci. 11, 246-257.Google Scholar
  5. Bonde T A Christensen B T and Cem C C 1992 Dynamics of soil organic matter as reflected by natural 13C abundance in particle size fractions of forested and cultivated oxisols. Soil Biol. Biochem. 24, 275-277.Google Scholar
  6. Breeuwsma A 1990 Mineralogical composition of Dutch soils. InSoil Science of the Netherlands. Eds. W P Locher and H de Bakker. pp 103-107. Maimberg, Den Bosch.Google Scholar
  7. Campbell C A, Moulin A P, Curtin D, Lafond G P and Townley-Smith L 1993 Soil aggregation as influenced by cultural practices in Saskatchewan: I. Black Chemozemic soils. Can. J. Soil Sci. 73, 579-595.Google Scholar
  8. Christensen B T 1992 Physical fractionation of soil and organic matter in primary particle size and density separates. Adv. Soil Sci. 20, 1-89.Google Scholar
  9. Dalal R C and Mayer R J 1986 Long-term trends in fertility of soils under continuous cultivation and cereal cropping in Southern Queensland. III. Distribution and kinetics of soil organic carbon in particle-size fractions. Aust. J. Soil Res. 24, 281-292.Google Scholar
  10. Dalal R C and Mayer R J 1987 Long-term trends in fertility of soils under continuous cultivation and cereal cropping in Southern Queensland. VI. Loss of total nitrogen from different particle-size and density fractions. Aust. J. Soil Res. 25, 83-93.Google Scholar
  11. De Kimpe C R, McKeague J A and Topp G C 1974 Soil properties in relation to water regime at a site near Quebeck city. Can. J. Soil Sci. 54, 427-446.Google Scholar
  12. De Kimpe C R, Laverdiere M R and Martel Y A 1979 Surface area and exchange capacity of clay in relation to the mineralogical composition of gleysolic soils. Can. J. Soil Sci. 59, 341-347.Google Scholar
  13. Deys W B 1961 The determination of total nitrogen in herbage samples. Inst. Biol. Scheik. Ond.Wageningen Jaarb. Med. 89, 90 (In Dutch).Google Scholar
  14. Dixon J B 1977 Kaolinite and serpentine group minerals. InMinerals in Soil Environments. Ed. R C Dinauer. pp 357-403. SSSA, Madison, WI.Google Scholar
  15. Elliott E T, Cambandella C A and Cole C V 1993 Modification of ecosystem processes by management and the mediation of soil organic matter dynamics. InSoil Organic Matter Dynamics and sustainability of tropical Agriculture. Eds. K Mulongoy and R Merckx. pp 257-268. John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Elustundo J, Angers PA, Laverdiere MR and N’Dayegamiye A 1990 Etude comparetive de l’agregation et de la matiere organique associee aux fractions granulometriques de sept soils sous culture de mais ou en prairie. Can. J. Soil Sci. 70, 395-202.Google Scholar
  17. Favejee J Ch L 1949 The mineralogical composition of the clay fraction of Dutch soils. Landbouwk. Tijdschr. 61, 167-171 (In Dutch).Google Scholar
  18. Feller C, Fritsch E, Poss R and Valentin C 1991 Effet de la texture sur le stockage et la dynamique des matieres organiques dans quelques sols ferrugineux et ferrallitiques, Cahier Otstom Ser. Pedologie 26, 25-36.Google Scholar
  19. Garwood E A, Clement C R and Williams T E 1972 Leys and soil organic matter III. The accumulation of macro-organic matter in the soil under different swards. J. Agric. Sci. Camb. 78, 333-341.Google Scholar
  20. Genstat Manual 1987 A General Statistical Program. Clarendon, Oxford.Google Scholar
  21. Greenland D J, Wild A and Adams D 1992 Organic matter dynamics in soils of the tropics-from myth to complex reality. InMyths and Science of Soils of the Tropics. Proceedings of an International Symposium. Eds. R Lal and P A Sanchez. pp 17-33. ASA/SSSA, Madison, WI.Google Scholar
  22. Harter R D and Stotzky G 1971 Formation of clay-protein complexes. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 35, 383-389.Google Scholar
  23. Hassink J 1994 Effects of soil texture and grassland management on soil organic C and N and rates of C and N mineralization. Soil Biol. Biochem. 26, 1221-1231.Google Scholar
  24. Hassink J 1995 Density fractions of soil macroorganic matter and microbial biomass as predictors of C and N mineralization. Soil Biol. Biochem. 27, 1099-1108.Google Scholar
  25. Hassink J, Matus F J, Chenu C and Dalenberg J W 1997 Interactions between soil biota, soil organic matter and soil structure. Adv. Agroecol. (In press).Google Scholar
  26. Huang P M 1990 Role of soil minerals in transformations of natural organics and xenobiotics in soil. InSoil Biochemistry, Vol. 6. Eds. J M Bollag and G Stotzky. pp 29-115. Marcel Dekker Inc. New York.Google Scholar
  27. Jenkinson D S 1988 Soil organic matter and its dynamics. InRussel's Soil Conditions and Plant Growth, 11th ed., Ch. 18A. Ed. A Wild. pp 564-607. Longman, New York.Google Scholar
  28. Kodama H 1979 Clay minerals in Canadian soils: their origin, distribution and alteration. Can. J. Soil Sci. 59, 37-58.Google Scholar
  29. Leinweber P and Reuter G 1992 The influence of different fertilization practices on concentrations of organic carbon and total nitrogen in particle-size fractions during 34 years of a soil formation experiment in loamy marl. Biol. Fert. Soils 13, 119-124.Google Scholar
  30. Lugo A E and Brown S 1993 Management of tropical soils as sinks or sources of atmospheric carbon. Plant Soil 149, 27-41.Google Scholar
  31. Marshman N A and Marshall K C 1981 Bacterial growth on proteins in the presence of clay minerals. Soil Biol. Biochem. 13, 127-134.Google Scholar
  32. Mebius L J 1960 A rapid method for the determination of organic carbon in soil. Anal. Chim. Ada 22, 120-124.Google Scholar
  33. North P F 1976 Towards an absolute measurement of sail structural stability using ultrasound. J. Soil Sci. 27, 451-459.Google Scholar
  34. Pinck L A, Dyal R S and Allison F E 1954 Protein-montmorillonite complexed, their preparation and the effect of soil micmorganisms on their decomposition. Soil Sci. 78, 109-118.Google Scholar
  35. Quiroga A R, Buschaiazzo D E and Peinemann N 1996 Soil organic matter particle size fractions in soils of the semiarid Argentinian Pampas. Soil Sci. 161, 104-107.Google Scholar
  36. Robert M and Chenu C 1992 Interactions between soil minerals and microorganisms. InSoil Biochemistry, Vol. 7. Eds. G Stotzky and J M Bollag. pp 307-404. Marcel Dekker Inc., New York.Google Scholar
  37. Stevenson F J 1982 Humus Chemistry. John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  38. Stotzky G 1986 Influence of soil mineral colloids on metabolic processes, growth, adhesion, and ecology of microbes and viruses. InInteractions of Soil Minerals with natural Organics and Microbes. Eds. P M Huang and M Schnitzer. pp 305-428. SSSA Spec. Publ. No. 17. Madison, WIGoogle Scholar
  39. Tate K R and Theng B K G 1980 Organic matter and its interactions with inorganic soil constituents. InSoil with a variable Charge. Ed. G K G Theng. pp 225-249. New Zealand Soc. Soil Sci., Lower Hutt.Google Scholar
  40. Theng B K G 1979 Formation and properties of clay-polymer complexes. Elsevier, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  41. Tiessen H and Stewart J W B 1983 Particle-size fractions and their use in studies of soil organic matter. II. Cultivation effects on organic matter composition in size. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 47, 509-514.Google Scholar
  42. Turchenek L W and Oades J M 1979 Fractionation of organo-mineral complexes by sedimentation and density techniques. Geoderma 21, 311-343.Google Scholar
  43. Van der Marel H W 1949 Mineralogical composition of a heath podzol profile. Soil Sci. 67, 193-207.Google Scholar
  44. Van Veen J A and Kuikman P J 1990 Soil structural aspects of decomposition of organic matter by microorganisms. Biogeochem. 11, 213-233.Google Scholar
  45. Varadachari Ch, Mondal A H, Nayak D C and Ghosh K 1994 Clayhumus complexation: effect of pH and the nature of bonding. Soil Biol. Biochem. 26, 1145-1149.Google Scholar
  46. Wilding L P, Smeck N E and Drees L R 1977 Silica in soils: quartz, cristobalite, tridymite, and opal. InMinerals in Soil Environments. Ed. R C Dinauer. pp 471-552. SSSA, Madison, WI.Google Scholar
  47. Zhang J, Thompson M L and Sandor J A 1988 Compositional differences in organic matter among cultivated and uncultivated argiudolls and hapludalfs derived from loess. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 52, 216-222.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Hassink
    • 1
  1. 1.DLO Research Institute for Agrobiology and Soil Fertility (AB-DLO)HarenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations