Relating soil C and organic matter fractions to structural stability

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Jensen, J. L., Schjonning, P., Watts, C. W., Christensen, B. T., Peltre, C. and Munkholm, L. 2019. Relating soil C and organic matter fractions to structural stability. Geoderma. 337 (1 March), pp. 834-843.

AuthorsJensen, J. L., Schjonning, P., Watts, C. W., Christensen, B. T., Peltre, C. and Munkholm, L.

Soil organic matter (SOM) is important for maintaining soil structural stability (SSS). The influence of soil organic carbon (SOC) and different organic matter components on various SSS measures were quantified. We used a silt loam soil with a wide range of SOC(0.0080-0.0427 kg kg-1 minerals) sampled in spring 2015 from the Highfield Ley-Arable Long-Term Experiment at Rothamsted Research. Four treatments were sampled: Bare fallow, continuous arable rotation, ley-arable rotation, and grass. Soils were tested for clay dispersibility (DispClay), clay-SOM
disintegration (DI, the ratio between clay content without and with SOM removal) and dispersion of particles <20 μm. The SSS tests were related to SOC, permanganate oxidizable carbon (POXC), hot water-extractable carbon (HWC), mid-infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy (FTIR-PAS) and mineral fines/SOC ratio. SSS increased with increasing content of SOM components. The relationships between SOM components and SSS followed a broken-stickregression with a change point at ~0.0230 kg SOC kg-1 minerals (clay/SOC~10) coinciding with a change from the tilled treatments to the grass treatment. We found a greater influence of SOC, POXC and HWC on SSS at contents below the change point than above. A stronger linear relation between POXC and DispClay compared to SOC and HWC suggests that POXC was a better predictor of the variation in DispClay. POXC and HWC were less related to DI than SOC. The grass treatment had a very stable structure, shown in all SSS tests, probably due to the absence of
tillage and large annual inputs of stabilizing agents. This suggests that a change in management from arable rotation to permanent grass is an effective tool for improving SSS.

KeywordsSoil structural stability; Soil organic carbon; Permanganate oxidizable carbon; Hot
Year of Publication2019
Journal citation337 (1 March), pp. 834-843
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeThe Rothamsted Long-Term Experiments including Sample Archive and e-RA database [2012-2017]
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online03 Nov 2018
Publication process dates
Accepted19 Oct 2018
PublisherElsevier Science Bv
Copyright licenseCC BY

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