HJA newt logo HJ Andrews
Login Donate
visit HJA Andrews on Twitter visit HJA Andrews on Facebook HJA RSS news feed

  Home > Publications > Search Bibliography > Publication Abstract
Publication Title:   Stabilization and destabilization of soil organic matter: mechanisms and controls

Year:  1996     Publication Type:  Journal Article

H. J. Andrews Publication Number:  1374

Citation:  Sollins, Phillip; Homann, Peter; Caldwell, Bruce A. 1996. Stabilization and destabilization of soil organic matter: mechanisms and controls. Geoderma. 74: 65-105.

Online PDF:  http://andrewsforest.oregonstate.edu/pubs/pdf/pub1374.pdf

Abstract:  We present a conceptual model of the processes by which plant leaf and root litter istransformed to soil organic C and CO2. Stabilization of a portion of the litter C yields materialthat resists further transformation; destabilization yields material that is more susceptible tomicrobial respiration. Stability of the organic C is viewed as resulting from three general sets ofcharacteristics. Recalcitrance comprises, molecular-level characteristics of organic substances,including elemental composition, presence of functional groups, and molecular conformation, thatinfluence their degradation by microbes and enzymes. Interactions refers to the inter-molecularinteractions between organics and either inorganic substances or other organic substances that alterthe rate of degradation of those organics or synthesis of new organics. Accessibility refers to thelocation of organic substances with respect to microbes and enzymes. Mechanisms by which thesethree characteristics change through time are reviewed along with controls on those mechanisms.This review suggests that the following changes in the study of soil organic matter dynamicswould speed progress: (1) increased effort to incorporate results into budgets for whole soil (e.g.,converting to a kg/ha basis) so that the relative importance of processes can be judged; (2) moreattention to effects of inter-molecular interactions (especially Al complexation) on enzyme activityand substrate degradation; (3) increased effort to experimentally manipulate soils, preferablyacross a range of soil types; (4) study of stabilization and destabilization mechanisms underconditions that are well defined yet more relevant to soil environments than those used previously;and (5) experiments better designed to isolate mechanisms so results are not confounded by effectsof other mechanisms operating simultaneously.

Personnel and Keyword Links

Author Links
Sollins ,  Phillip  
Homann ,  Peter   S.
Caldwell ,  Bruce   A.

Carbon cycling
Forest ecosystems
Soil organic matter

Pacific Northwest