Bulk optical characterization of dissolved organic matter from semiarid wheat-based cropping systems
Engel, Richard E.
Zabinski, Catherine A.
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Dissolved organic matter (DOM) plays a critical role in the cycling of nutrients and long-term agricultural sustainability. The composition of DOM in soil is likely altered due to management, yet there is limited knowledge on the effect of long-term cropping on DOM chemical character. Here, we characterized water extractable DOM composition along a gradient of soil organic carbon (SOC) affected by differing cropping and tillage intensity in a semiarid climate of the northern Great Plains, USA. Soil samples (0–10, 10–20, 20–30 cm) were collected from conventional till-fallow winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.; Ftill-W), no-till spring pea/oilseed-wheat (Pisum sativum L.; Pg/O-W), and no-till continuous wheat (W-W) fields, and analyzed using UV/Vis absorbance and excitation-emission matrix fluorescence spectroscopy. The concentration of DOM decreased with depth and was significantly greater (P < 0.05) under W-W or Pg/O-W than Ftill-W. The absorbance at 254 nm (Abs254), a proxy for DOM aromatic nature, indicated that aromaticity decreased with depth and lower biomass-C inputs (i.e. W-W ≥ Pg/O-W ≥ Ftill-W). Multidimensional parallel factor (PARAFAC) analysis revealed humic-like (C1, C2), monolignol-like (C3), and protein/tannin-like (C4) components with varying fluorescence intensities as a function of cropping system and soil depth. DOM humification, indicated by the humification index (HIX), increased significantly with depth (P < 0.05) and was higher for Ftill-W (2.95) than W-W (2.61) or Pg/O-W (2.28). Overall, DOM became depleted of plant-derived constituents and was enriched by more decomposed, condensed substances in Ftill-W, as compared to W-W or Pg/O-W soils. DOM composition is strongly affected by cropping intensity and such changes are important drivers controlling SOC accretion in arable soils.
Romero C.M., R.E. Engel, J. D'Andrilli, C. Chen, C. Zabinski, P.R. Miller, R. Wallander, "Bulk optical characterization of dissolved organic matter from semiarid wheat-based cropping systems," Geoderma 306, (November 2017): 40-49. doi: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2017.06.029.