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Effects of application of horticultural soil amendments on decomposition, quantity, stabilisation and quality of soil carbon

Duddigan, S., Shaw, L. J., Alexander, P. D. and Collins, C. D. (2022) Effects of application of horticultural soil amendments on decomposition, quantity, stabilisation and quality of soil carbon. Scientific Reports, 12. 17631. ISSN 2045-2322

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-22451-2


Application of organic soil amendments is commonplace in horticulture to improve soil fertility. Whether this practice can also augment the soil carbon (C) pool has been of increasing interest in recent years. We used a controlled field experiment that has received annual applications of six different horticultural soil amendments for seven consecutive years. Each amendment was examined in terms of its contribution to bulk C and the distribution of C between theoretical pools, as defined by physical fractionation. Physical fractionation was combined with 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy with cross-polarization and magic angle spinning (CPMAS NMR) analysis. Results indicated that the difference in total C concentration between treatments resulted from an increase in unprotected, free, particulate organic matter (fOM), rather than an increase in soil organic matter being occluded in aggregates or in organo-mineral complexes, and that C persisted in the fOM fraction as a result of accumulation in the alkyl C region. Unlike fresh litter or plant residues, organic amendments have undergone decomposition during the composting process (or during formation in the case of peat), in the absence of mineral soil components. This ex situ decomposition (and possible stabilization through acquired recalcitrance) could reduce the opportunity to become physically or chemically protected through association with the soil mineral phase following addition to soil. Carbon:Nitrogen (C:N) of amendment material likely influenced the rate of amendment decomposition. In addition, C:N determines the decomposition of plant litter inputs, as determined by the tea bag index.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF) > NMR (CAF)
ID Code:108472
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group


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