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Evaluation of optical techniques for characterising soil organic matter quality in agricultural soils

Fernández-Romero, M.L., Clark, J.M., Collins, C.D., Parras-Alcántara, L. and Lozano-García, B. (2016) Evaluation of optical techniques for characterising soil organic matter quality in agricultural soils. Soil and Tillage Research, 155. pp. 450-460. ISSN 0167-1987

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.still.2015.05.004

Abstract/Summary

Soil organic matter (SOM) is one of the main global carbon pools. It is a measure of soil quality as its presence increases carbon sequestration and improves physical and chemical soil properties. The determination and characterisation of humic substances gives essential information of the maturity and stresses of soils as well as of their health. However, the determination of the exact nature and molecular structure of these substances has been proven difficult. Several complex techniques exist to characterise SOM and mineralisation and humification processes. One of the more widely accepted for its accuracy is nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Despite its efficacy, NMR needs significant economic resources, equipment, material and time. Proxy measures like the fluorescence index (FI), cold and hot-water extractable carbon (CWC and HWC) and SUVA-254 have the potential to characterise SOM and, in combination, provide qualitative and quantitative data of SOM and its processes. Spanish and British agricultural cambisols were used to measure SOM quality and determine whether similarities were found between optical techniques and 1H NMR results in these two regions with contrasting climatic conditions. High correlations (p < 0.001) were found between the specific aromatic fraction measured with 1H NMR and SUVA-254 (Rs = 0.95) and HWC (Rs = 0.90), which could be described using a linear model. A high correlation between FI and the aromatics fraction measured with 1H NMR (Rs = −0.976) was also observed. In view of our results, optical measures have a potential, in combination, to predict the aromatic fraction of SOM without the need of expensive and time consuming techniques.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Earth Systems Science
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Food Security
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF) > NMR (CAF)
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF) > Spectrometry (CAF)
ID Code:40551
Publisher:Elsevier

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