Dignac, MF; Kögel-Knabner, I; Michel, K; Matzner, E; Knicker, H: Chemistry of soil organic matter as related to C : N in Norway spruce forest (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) floors and mineral soils, Journal of Plant Nutr. Soil Sci., 165, 281-289 (2002)
Abstract:
Due to high nitrogen deposition in central Europe, the C : N ratio of litter and the forest floor has narrowed in the past. This may cause changes in the chemical composition of the soil organic matter. Here we investigate the composition of organic matter in Oh and A horizons of 15 Norway spruce soils with a wide range of C : N ratios. Samples are analyzed with solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, along with chemolytic analyses of lignin, polysaccharides, and amino acid-N. The data are investigated for functional relationships between C, N contents and C : N ratios by structural analysis. With increasing N content, the concentration of lignin decreases in the Oh horizons, but increases in the A horizons. A negative effect of N on lignin degradation is observed in the mineral soil, but not in the humus layer. In the A horizons non-phenolic aromatic C compounds accumulate, especially at low N values. At high N levels, N is preferentially incorporated into the amino acid fraction and only to a smaller extent into the non-hydrolyzable N fraction. High total N concentrations are associated with a higher relative contribution of organic matter of microbial origin.
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