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Effects of acid sulphate on DOC release in mineral soils: the influence of SO42−retention and Al release

Palmer, S. M., Clark, J. M. ORCID:, Chapman, P. J., van der Heijden, G. M. F. and Bottrell, S. H. (2013) Effects of acid sulphate on DOC release in mineral soils: the influence of SO42−retention and Al release. European Journal of Soil Science, 64 (6). pp. 537-544. ISSN 1365-2389

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/ejss.12048


Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in acid-sensitive upland waters is dominated by allochthonous inputs from organic-rich soils, yet inter-site variability in soil DOC release to changes in acidity has received scant attention in spite of the reported differences between locations in surface water DOC trends over the last few decades. In a previous paper, we demonstrated that pH-related retention of DOC in O horizon soils was influenced by acid-base status, particularly the exchangeable Al content. In the present paper, we investigate the effect of sulphate additions (0–437 μeq l−1) on DOC release in the mineral B horizon soils from the same locations. Dissolved organic carbon release decreased with declining pH in all soils, although the shape of the pH-DOC relationships differed between locations, reflecting the multiple factors controlling DOC mobility. The release of DOC decreased by 32–91% in the treatment with the largest acid input (437 μeq l−1), with the greatest decreases occurring in soils with very small % base saturation (BS, <3%) and/or large capacity for sulphate (SO42−) retention (up to 35% of added SO42−). The greatest DOC release occurred in the soil with the largest initial base status (12% BS). These results support our earlier conclusions that differences in acid-base status between soils alter the sensitivity of DOC release to similar sulphur deposition declines. However,superimposed on this is the capacity of mineral soils to sorb DOC and SO42−, and more work is needed to determine the fate of sorbed DOC under conditions of increasing pH and decreasing SO42−.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Earth Systems Science
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:32609
Publisher:British Society of Soil Science

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