Main content area

Characteristics of differently stabilised soil organic carbon fractions in relation to long-term fertilisation in Brown Earth of Northeast China

Xu, Xiangru, Zhang, Wenju, Xu, Minggang, Li, Shuangyi, An, Tingting, Pei, Jiubo, Xiao, Jing, Xie, Hongtu, Wang, Jingkuan
The Science of the total environment 2016 v.572 pp. 1101-1110
corn, cropping systems, fertilizer application, fractionation, long term effects, nitrogen, nitrogen fertilizers, particulate organic carbon, phosphorus, phosphorus fertilizers, regression analysis, silt, soil organic carbon, soil stabilization, China
Long-term use of artificial fertiliser has a significant impact on soil organic carbon (SOC). We used physical–chemical fractionation methods to assess the impact of long-term (26years) fertilisation in a maize cropping system developed on Brown Earth in Northeast China. Plot treatments consisted of control (CK); nitrogen (N) fertiliser (N2); low-level organic manure combined with inorganic N and phosphorus (P) fertiliser (M1N1P1); medium-level organic manure combined with inorganic N fertiliser (M2N2); and high-level organic manure combined with inorganic N and P fertiliser (M4N2P1). Our objectives were to (1) determine the contents of and variations in the SOC fractions; (2) explore the relationship between total SOC and its fractions. In treatments involving organic manure (M1N1P1, M2N2, and M4N2P1), total SOC and physically protected microaggregate (μagg) and μagg occluded particulate organic carbon (iPOC) contents increased by 9.9–58.9%, 1.3–34.7%, 29.5–127.9% relative to control, respectively. But there no significant differences (P>0.05) were detected for the chemically, physically–chemically, and physically–biochemically protected fractions among the M1N1P1, M2N2, and M4N2P1 treatments. Regression analysis revealed that there was a linear positive correlation between SOC and the unprotected coarse particulate organic carbon (cPOC), physically protected μagg, and iPOC fractions (P<0.05). However, physically–chemically, and physically–biochemically protected fractions responded negatively to SOC content. The highest rate of C accumulation among the SOC fractions occurred in the cPOC fraction, which accounted for as much as 32% of C accumulation as total SOC increased, suggesting that cPOC may be the most sensitive fraction to fertiliser application. We found that treatments had no effect on C levels in H-μsilt and NH-μsilt, indicating that the microaggregated silt C-fractions may have reached a steady state in terms of C saturation in the Brown Earth of Northeast China.