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Influence of single trees on spatial and temporal patterns of cutin and suberin distribution and turnover in soil

Sandra Spielvogel1, Knüpp Lena1, Prietzel Jörg2, Kögel-Knabner Ingrid2
1 Universität Koblenz-Landau
2 TU München

O 4.7 in Below ground turnover of C and nutrients in forest soils

14.07.2014, 15:55-16:15, H17

Differences in chemical composition of root and leave/needle compounds as well as root architecture among tree species may affect organic matter (OM) distribution, composition and turnover in forest soils. In particular at the single tree level, our understanding of temporal and spatial variability of OM input and turnover is still limited.

The objective of this study was to elucidate the contribution and turnover of cutin and suberin biomarkers as proxies for shoot- and root-derived organic carbon (OC) to soil OM in different depths with increasing distance to the stems of four different tree species.

The contribution of cutin- and suberin-derived lipids to OM in a Cutanic Alisol was analyzed with increasing soil depth and distance to the stems of Fagus sylvatica L., Picea abies (L.) Karst., Quercus robur L. and Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco. A litter bag experiment was used to study the impact of root system architecture on cutin and suberin turnover in different soil depth and distances to single tree stems. Cutin and suberin monomers of plants and soils were analyzed by alkaline hydrolysis and subsequent gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Distribution of suberin-derived lipids in soil clearly reflected the specific root system of the different tree species. The amount of cutin-derived lipids decreased strongly with soil depth, indicating that the input of leaf/needle material is restricted to the topsoil with exception of profiles next to European beech trees. The degree of suberin and cutin degradation was clearly controlled by the root system of the respective tree species and considerably enhanced within the zone of highest root density.  

Our results reveal the impact of tree species and tree architecture on root-derived OM distribution and turnover, and as a consequence the necessity to distinguish among different zones of rooting intensity when studying soil OM storage and turnover in forest soils.



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last modified 2014-02-14