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Title: Measurement of soil carbon oxidation state and oxidative ratio by 13C nuclear magnetic resonance

Author: Hockaday, W.C.; Masiello, C.A.; Randerson, J.T.; Smernik, R.J.; Baldock, J.A.; Chadwick, O. A.; Harden, J.W.;

Date: 2009

Source: Journal of Geophysical Research. 114: G02014. DOI: 10.1029/2008JG000803. 14 p

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: The oxidative ratio (OR) of the net ecosystem carbon balance is the ratio of net O2 and CO2 fluxes resulting from photosynthesis, respiration, decomposition, and other lateral and vertical carbon flows. The OR of the terrestrial biosphere must be well characterized to accurately estimate the terrestrial CO2 sink using atmospheric measurements of changing O2 and CO2 levels. To estimate the OR of the terrestrial biosphere, measurements are needed of changes in the OR of aboveground and belowground carbon pools associated with decadal timescale disturbances (e.g., land use change and fire). The OR of aboveground pools can be measured using conventional approaches including elemental analysis. However, measuring the OR of soil carbon pools is technically challenging, and few soil OR data are available. In this paper we test three solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques for measuring soil OR, all based on measurements of the closely related parameter, organic carbon oxidation state (Cox). Two of the three techniques make use of a molecular mixing model which converts NMR spectra into concentrations of a standard suite of biological molecules of known Cox. The third technique assigns Cox values to each peak in the NMR spectrum. We assess error associated with each technique using pure chemical compounds and plant biomass standards whose Cox and OR values can be directly measured by elemental analyses. We also estimate the OR of the carbon flux from a boreal forest fire. Fire appears to be a major factor driving the soil C pool to higher oxidation states and lower OR values. Episodic fluxes caused by disturbances like fire may have substantially different ORs from ecosystem respiration fluxes and therefore should be better quantified to reduce uncertainties associated with our understanding of the global atmospheric carbon budget.

Keywords: nuclear magnetic resonance, soil carbon, oxidative ratio, net ecosystem carbon balance

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Hockaday, W.C.; Masiello, C.A.; Randerson, J.T.; Smernik, R.J.; Baldock, J.A.; Chadwick, O. A.; Harden, J.W. 2009. Measurement of soil carbon oxidation state and oxidative ratio by 13C nuclear magnetic resonance. Journal of Geophysical Research. 114: G02014. DOI: 10.1029/2008JG000803. 14 p.

 


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