Partitioning CO2 effluxes from an Atlantic pine forest soil between endogenous soil organic matter and recently incorporated 13C-enriched plant material

Environ Sci Technol. 2006 Apr 15;40(8):2552-8. doi: 10.1021/es0519841.


Soil CO2 effluxes from recently added 13C-labeled phytomass versus endogenous soil organic matter (SOM) were studied in an acid soil from Atlantic pine forests (NW Spain). After several cultures to incorporate fresh 13C-enriched Lolium perenne to a Humic Cambisol with predominance of humus--Al over humus--Fe complexes, potential soil C mineralization was determined by laboratory aerobic incubation (84 days). Isotopic 13C analyses of SOM fractions were assessed to know in which organic compartments the 13C was preferentially incorporated. Although in the 13C-labeled soil the C mineralization coefficient totalized less than 3% of soil C, the 13C mineralization coefficient exceeded 14%, indicating a greater lability of the newly incorporated organic matter. Organic compounds coming from added phytomass showed a higher lability and contributed considerably to the total soil CO2 effluxes (52% of total soil CO2 evolved during the first decomposition stages and 27% at the end), even though added-C comprised less than 4% of total soil C. Good determination coefficients, when values of CO2--C released were fitted to a first-order double exponential kinetic model, support the existence of two C pools of different lability. Kinetic parameters obtained with this model indicated that phytomass addition augmented the biodegradability of the labile pool (instantaneous mineralization rate k increased from 0.07 d(-1) to 0.12 d(-1)) but diminished that of the recalcitrant pool (instantaneous mineralization rate h decreased from 2.7 x 10(-4) d(-1) to 1.6 x 10(-4) d(-1)). Consequently, the differentiation between both SOM pools increased, showing the importance of SOM quality on CO2 emissions from this kind of soil to the atmosphere.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum / analysis
  • Aluminum / chemistry
  • Benzopyrans / analysis
  • Carbon Dioxide / analysis*
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Humic Substances / analysis
  • Iron / analysis
  • Iron / chemistry
  • Lolium
  • Pinus
  • Soil / analysis
  • Trees


  • Benzopyrans
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Humic Substances
  • Soil
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Aluminum
  • Iron
  • fulvic acid