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Research article2013Peer reviewedOpen access

Storage and stability of organic carbon in soils as related to depth, occlusion within aggregates, and attachment to minerals

Schrumpf, M; Kaiser, K; Guggenberger, G; Persson, Tryggve; Kögel-Knabner, Ingrid; Schulze, E-D


The LF at three sites were rather depleted in C-14, indicating the presence of fossil material such as coal and lignite, probably inherited from the parent material. At the other sites, modern Delta C-14 signatures and positive correlations between specific mineralization rates and fLF-OC indicate the fLF is a potentially available energy and nutrient source for subsurface microorganisms throughout the profile. Declining specific mineralization rates with soil depth confirm greater stability of OC in subsoils across sites. The overall importance of OC stabilization by binding to minerals was demonstrated by declining specific mineralization rates with increasing contributions of HF-OC to bulk soil OC, and the low Delta C-14 values of HF-OC. The stability of HF-OC was greater in subsoils than in topsoils; nevertheless, a portion of HF-OC was active throughout the profile. While quantitatively less important than OC in the HF, consistent older ages of oLF-OC than fLF-OC suggest that occlusion of LF-OC in aggregates also contributes to OC stability in subsoils. Overall, our results indicate that association of OC in soils, irrespective of vegetation, soil type, and land use.

Published in

2013, Volume: 10, number: 3, pages: 1675-1691 Publisher: COPERNICUS GESELLSCHAFT MBH

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG15 Life on land

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
    Soil Science

    Publication identifier


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