Plant and Soil

, Volume 212, Issue 2, pp 115–121 | Cite as

Low-molecular-weight aliphatic carboxylic acids in soil solutions under different vegetations determined by capillary zone electrophoresis

  • Bjarne Westergaard Strobel
  • Irene Bernhoft
  • Ole K. Borggaard


Concentrations of low-molecular-weight aliphatic carboxylic acids in soil solution were determined by a newly developed capillary zone electrophoresis method. Soil solution samples were collected by centrifugation of soil from the A horizon of a Danish, homogeneous, nutrient-rich Hapludalf in adjacent forested and arable plots. The forested plots of 0.5 ha were 33-year old stands of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.), oak (Quercus robur L.), grand fir (Abies grandis Lindl.), and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.), while sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) and winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were the agricultural crops this year. High variability in soil solution concentrations of metal cations (Al, Ca, K, Mg, Na), monocarboxylic acids (formic, acetic, lactic, and valeric acids), and di- and tricarboxylic acids (oxalic, malic, succinic, and citric acids) were found within each plot. Despite this short-range within-plot variability, higher concentrations of di- and tricarboxylic acids were found in the forested soils than in the arable soils. The vegetation seemed to favour some monocarboxylic acids, but the total monocarboxylic acid concentrations showed little relation to the vegetation. Probably due to much less soil water in the Norway spruce plot, the low-molecular-weight aliphatic carboxylic acid concentrations in the samples from that plot were much higher than those found in samples from the other plots. Carbon in low-molecular-weight aliphatic carboxylic acids only accounts for a few percent of dissolved organic carbon, and no general relation was found between carbon in low-molecular-weight aliphatic carboxylic acids and dissolved organic carbon, although the correlation between carbon in di- and tricarboxylic acids and dissolved organic carbon was significant.

capillary zone electrophoresis DOC organic acid soil solution spatial variability tree species 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Brynhildsen L and Rosswall T 1997 Effects of metals on the microbial mineralization of organic acids. Water Air Soil Pollut. 94, 45–57.Google Scholar
  2. Chen L, Dick WA, Streeter J G and Hoitink H A J 1998 Fe chelates from compost microorganisms improve Fe nutrition of soybean and oat. Plant Soil 200, 139–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Drever J I 1994 The effect of land plants on weathering rates of silicate minerals. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 58, 2325–2332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. FAO-Unesco 1990 Soil map of the world. Revised Legend. World Soil Resources Report 60. FAO, Rome. 119 pp.Google Scholar
  5. Fox T R 1995 The influence of low-molecular-weight organic acids on properties and processes in forest soils. In Carbon Forms and Functions in Forest Soils. Eds W W McFee and J M Kelly. pp 43–62. Soil Science Society of America, Madison.Google Scholar
  6. Fox T R and Comerford N B 1990 Low-molecular-weight organic acids in selected forest soils of the southeastern USA. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 54, 1139–1144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Giesler R, Lundstrøm U and Grip H 1996 Comparison of soil solution chemistry assessment using zero-tension lysimeters or centrifugation. Eur. J. Soil Sci. 47, 395–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Göttlein A and Blasek R 1996 Analysis of small volumes of soil solution by capillary electrophoresis. Soil Sci. 161, 705–715.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Harter R D and Naidu R 1995 Role of metal-organic complexation in metal sorption by soils. Adv. Agron. 55, 219–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Haddad P R, Harakuwe A H and Buchberger W 1995 Separation of inorganic anionic components of Bayer liquor by capillary zone electrophoresis. I. Optimisation of resolution with electrolytecontaining surfactant mixtures. J. Chrom. A 706, 571–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hees P A W van, Andersson A-M T and Lundström U S 1996 Separation of organic low molecular weight aluminium complexes in soil solution by liquid chromatography. Chemosphere 33, 1951–1966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hue N V, Craddock G R and Adams F 1986 Effect of organic acids on aluminium toxicity in subsoils. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 50, 28–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jones D L 1998 Organic acids in the rhizosphere-a critical review. Plant Soil 205, 25–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kelly L and Nelson R J 1993 Capillary zone electrophoresis of organic acids and anions. J. Liq. Chrom. 16, 2103–2112.Google Scholar
  15. Krzyszowska A J, Blaylock M J, Vance G F and David M B 1996 Ion-chromatographic analysis of low molecular weight organic acids in Spodosol forest floor solutions. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 60, 1565–1571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Raulund-Rasmussen K and Vejre H 1995 Effect of tree species and soil properties on nutrient immobilization in the forest floor. Plant Soil 168–169, 345–352.Google Scholar
  17. Raulund-Rasmussen K, Borggaard O K, Hansen H C B and Olsson M 1998 Effect of natural organic soil solutes on weathering rates of soil minerals. Eur. J. Soil Sci. 49, 397–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ross D S and Barlett R J 1996 Field-extracted Spodosol solutions and soils: Aluminum, organic carbon, and pH interrelationships. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 60, 589–595.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Shen Y, Ström L, Jönsson J-Å and Tyler G. 1996 Low-molecular organic acids in the rhizosphere soil solution of beech forest (Fagus sylvatica L.) Cambisols determined by ion chromatography using supported liquid membrane enrichment technique. Soil Biol. Biochem. 28, 1163–1169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Slattery W J and Morrison G R 1995 Relationship between soil solution aluminium and low molecular weight organic acids in a conservation cropping system. Plant Soil 171, 193–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Soil Survey Staff 1997 Keys to soil taxonomy, USDA. Seventh Edition. Pocahontas Press, Inc., Blacksburg.Google Scholar
  22. StummWand Morgan J J 1996 Aquatic Chemistry. John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  23. Tani M, Higashi T and Nagatsuka S 1996 Dynamics of lowmolecular-weight aliphatic carboxylic acids (LACAs) in forest soils. II. Seasonal changes of LACAs in an Andisol of Japan. Soil Sci. Plant Nutr. 42, 175–186.Google Scholar
  24. Westergaard B, Hansen H C B and Borggaard O K 1998 Determination of anions in soil solutions by capillary zone electrophoresis. Analyst 123, 721–724.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wolt J D 1994 Soil Solution Chemistry. Applications to Environmental Science and Agriculture. John Wiley & Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  26. Wu C H, Lo Y S, Lee Y-H and Lin T-I 1995 Capillary electrophoretic determination of organic acids with indirect detection. J. Chrom. A 716, 291–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bjarne Westergaard Strobel
  • Irene Bernhoft
  • Ole K. Borggaard

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations