Short-term sequestration of slurry-derived carbon into particle size fractions of a temperate grassland soil

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Bol, R., Moering, J., Preedy, N. and Glaser, B. 2004. Short-term sequestration of slurry-derived carbon into particle size fractions of a temperate grassland soil. Isotopes In Environmental And Health Studies. 40 (1), pp. 81-87.

AuthorsBol, R., Moering, J., Preedy, N. and Glaser, B.

Surface application of animal wastes in intensive grassland systems has caused growing environmental problems during the last decade and, therefore, increasing public and scientific concern. In the present study we examined if the natural abundance 13C stable isotope tracer techniques could be used to investigate a poorly defined aspect of waste application, i.e. incorporation of slurry-derived C and its distribution in soil organic matter (SOM) fractions with different turnover times of a pasture soil. C3 and C4 slurries (δ13CV-PDB = −30.7‰ and −21.3‰, respectively) from cows fed either on a maize (C4) or perennial ryegrass (C3) diet were applied to a C3 soil with a δ13C value of −30.0 ± 0.2‰. The cattle slurry was applied at 50 m3 ha−1. Coarse sand, fine sand, silt, clay and fine clay were isolated from bulk soil samples (0–2 cm depth), freeze-dried and ground prior to total organic C (TOC) using elemental analysis and 13C natural abundance analysis by isotope-ratio mass spectrometry. The stable isotope tracer technique did allow to quantify the short-term sequestration of slurry-derived C in particle-size fractions of the grassland soil. Slurry-derived carbon was sequestered in various amounts in the five particle-size fractions, but most of it was sequestered in the coarse sand fraction during the two week experiment. The preferential input into the coarse sand fraction suggests that only the larger particulate slurry-derived materials were trapped into the soil during the experimental period. Less than 40% of the applied slurry-derived C was sequestered into the soil, suggesting a potential for large losses into the wider environment. The practice of surface spreading of slurry to temperate grassland soils is clearly not efficient, and improvements in slurry application methods, such as incorporation directly into the soil, should therefore be encouraged.

KeywordsCarbon 13; Grassland; particle size fractions; Slurry; Soil
Year of Publication2004
JournalIsotopes In Environmental And Health Studies
Journal citation40 (1), pp. 81-87
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Funder project or codeSoil Science and Environmental Quality (SSEQ)
Project: 2430 3005
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online13 May 2010
Publication process dates
Accepted28 Apr 2003
Copyright licensePublisher copyright
PublisherTaylor & Francis

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