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Black carbon affects the cycling of non-black carbon in soil

TitleBlack carbon affects the cycling of non-black carbon in soil
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsLuizao, F., Solomon D., Trujillo L., Liang B., Neves E. G., O'Neill B., Gaunt J., Grossman J., Lehmann J., Sohi S., and Thies J.
JournalOrganic Geochemistry
Volume10
Abstract

Black carbon (BC) is an important fraction of many soils worldwide and plays an important role in global C biogeochemistry. However, few studies have examined how it influences the mineralization of added organic matter (AOM) and its incorporation into soil physical fractions and whether BC decomposition is increased by AOM. BC-rich Anthrosols and BC-poor adjacent soils from the Central Amazon (Brazil) were incubated for 532 days either with or without addition of 13C-isotopically different plant residue. Total C mineralization from the BC-rich Anthrosols with AOM was 25.5% (P < 0.05) lower than with mineralization from the BC-poor adjacent soils. The AOM contributed to a significantly (P < 0.05) higher proportion to the total C mineralized in the BC-rich Anthrosols (91–92%) than the BC-poor adjacent soils (69–80%). The AOM was incorporated more rapidly in BC-rich than BC-poor soils from the separated free light fraction through the intra-aggregate light fraction into the stable organo-mineral fraction and up to 340% more AOM was found in the organo-mineral fraction. This more rapid stabilization was observed despite a significantly (P < 0.05) lower metabolic quotient for BC-rich Anthrosols. The microbial biomass (MB) was up to 125% greater (P < 0.05) in BC-rich Anthrosols than BC-poor adjacent soils. To account for increased MB adsorption onto BC during fumigation extraction, a correction factor was developed via addition of a 13C-enriched microbial culture. The recovery was found to be 21–41% lower (P < 0.05) for BC-rich than BC-poor soils due to re-adsorption of MB onto BC. Mineralization of native soil C was enhanced to a significantly greater degree in BC-poor adjacent soils compared to BC-rich Anthrosols as a result of AOM. No positive priming by way of cometabolism due to AOM could be found for aged BC in the soils.