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Vogel, C.* ; Mueller, C.W.* ; Höschen, C.* ; Buegger, F. ; Heister, K.* ; Schulz, S. ; Schloter, M. ; Kögel-Knabner, I.*

Submicron structures provide preferential spots for carbon and nitrogen sequestration in soils.

Nat. Commun. 5:2947 (2014)
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The sequestration of carbon and nitrogen by clay-sized particles in soils is well established, and clay content or mineral surface area has been used to estimate the sequestration potential of soils. Here, via incubation of a sieved (<2 mm) topsoil with labelled litter, we find that only some of the clay-sized surfaces bind organic matter (OM). Surprisingly, <19% of the visible mineral areas show an OM attachment. OM is preferentially associated with organo-mineral clusters with rough surfaces. By combining nano-scale secondary ion mass spectrometry and isotopic tracing, we distinguish between new labelled and pre-existing OM and show that new OM is preferentially attached to already present organo-mineral clusters. These results, which provide evidence that only a limited proportion of the clay-sized surfaces contribute to OM sequestration, revolutionize our view of carbon sequestration in soils and the widely used carbon saturation estimates.
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Publication type Article: Journal article
Document type Scientific Article
Keywords Ion Mass-spectrometry; Organic-matter; Marine-sediments; Density Fractionation; Mineral Interactions; Microbial Biomass; Extraction Method; Forest Soil; Stabilization; Preservation
ISSN (print) / ISBN 2041-1723
e-ISSN 2041-1723
Quellenangaben Volume: 5, Issue: , Pages: , Article Number: 2947 Supplement: ,
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Publishing Place London
Reviewing status Peer reviewed