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Profiling of soil volatile organic compounds after long-term application of inorganic, organic and organic-inorganic mixed fertilizers and their effect on plant growth

Raza, Waseem, Mei, Xinlan, Wei, Zhong, Ling, Ning, Yuan, Jun, Wang, Jichen, Huang, Qiwei, Shen, Qirong
The Science of the total environment 2017 v.607-608 pp. 326-338
environmental factors, fertilizer application, fertilizers, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, methanol, plant growth, soil properties, solid phase microextraction, temperature, volatile organic compounds
The complexity of soil processes involved in the production, consumption and accumulation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) makes hard to access the overall dynamics of VOCs in the soil. In this study, the field soil, applied with inorganic (CF), organic (OF) and inorganic-organic mixed (CFOF) fertilizers for ten years was evaluated for the emission of VOCs at different temperature and moisture levels. We identified 30–50 soil emitted VOCs representing the most common soil VOCs groups by using the solid-phase microextraction (SPME) fiber and gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy. The highest total emission of VOCs was found in OF treatment, but it was non-significantly different with CF treatment. The emission of VOCs was significantly increased with the decrease in moisture contents and increase in the temperature of the soil. Among different fertilizer treatments, the emission of VOCs was significantly higher in OF treatment at 5% moisture, and in CF and OF treatments at 35°C. Further, the VOCs emitted from soil treated with CFOF showed the highest increase in plant growth while CF and OF treatments showed similar results. The VOCs were also extracted from the soil using methanol to better understand the dynamics of VOCs. The abundance of VOCs extracted from the soil was 44–61%, while the richness was 65–70% higher than the VOCs emitted from the soil in different treatments. Taken together the results of emitted and extracted VOCs from the soil, we conclude that the fertilizers are able to discriminate among the VOC patterns of soil. In addition, most of the VOCs are retained in the soil and the emission of VOCs from soil depends on the type of VOCs, soil properties and environmental conditions; however, more research is required to find out better soil VOCs analysis methods.