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Trade-off between Pore-Throat Structure and Mineral Composition in Modulating the Stability of Soil Organic Carbon

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posted on 2024-05-31, 05:29 authored by Lingke Guo, Chenchen Qu, Yue Zhou, Yuexi Chen, Peng Cai, Wenli Chen, Chengrong Chen, Qiaoyun Huang
The preservation of soil organic carbon (OC) is an effective way to decelerate the emission of CO2 emission. However, the coregulation of pore structure and mineral composition in OC stabilization remains elusive. We employed the in situ nondestructive oxidation of OC by low-temperature ashing (LTA) combined with near edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS), high-resolution microtomography (μ-CT), field emission electron probe microanalysis (FE-EPMA) with C-free embedding, and novel Cosine similarity measurement to investigate the C retention in different aggregate fractions of contrasting soils. Pore structure and minerals contributed equally (ca. 50%) to OC accumulation in macroaggregates, while chemical protection played a leading role in C retention with 53.4%–59.2% of residual C associated with minerals in microaggregates. Phyllosilicates were discovered to be more prominent than Fe (hydr)oxides in C stabilization. The proportion of phyllosilicates-associated C (52.0%–61.9%) was higher than that bound with Fe (hydr)oxides (45.6%–55.3%) in all aggregate fractions tested. This study disentangled quantitatively for the first time a trade-off between physical and chemical protection of OC varying with aggregate size and the different contributions of minerals to OC preservation. Incorporating pore structure and mineral composition into C modeling would optimize the C models and improve the soil C content prediction.

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