20170504

Author :  
Rumpel, C. Kogel-Knabner, I.

Year : 
2011

Title : 
Deep soil organic matter-a key but poorly understood component of terrestrial C cycle

Journal : 
Plant and Soil

Comment 
 Although routine soil carbon surveys collect data down to a depth of 1 m, soil organic matter stored in subsoil horizons below the A horizon has received increasing interest in recent years as high proportions of total C stored within the soil profile may be found in subsoil horizons despite low organic matter (OM) concentrations.

 Generally, carbon in deep soil horizons is characterized by high mean residence times of up to several thousand years. With few exceptions, the carbon-to-nitrogen (C/N) ratio is decreasing with soil depth, while the stable C and N isotope ratios of SOM are increasing, indicating that OM in deep soil horizons is highly processed.

 Main carbon sources of subsoil OM are dissolved organic matter, root biomass and physically or biologically transported particulate organic matter. Organic matter in subsoil horizons is characterized by a high radiocarbon age but the reasons for this are not entirely clear.

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