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Thermal transformation of soil organic matter by natural fires and laboratory-controlled heatings

AuthorsGonzález-Vila, Francisco Javier ; Almendros Martín, Gonzalo
KeywordsSoil organic matter
Black carbon
Controlled heating
Charred residues
Browning products
C and N sequestration
Chemical degradations
Forest ecosystems
Fulvic acids
Humic acids
Infrared spectroscopy
Laboratory simulations
Issue Date2003
PublisherKluwer Academic Publishers
CitationNatural and laboratory-simulated thermal geochemical processes: 153-200 (2003)
AbstractThe results of a multi-approach analysis on the effects that wildfires exert on soil organic matter (SOM) properties are presented. The methods used included wet chemical oxidation and therrnal degradation by flash pyrolysis, as well as Fourier-transformed infrared (FT-IR) and solid-state l3C and 15N nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopies. Such destructive and non-destructive analytical techniques were used for the assessment of heat effects to a molecular level applied to representative Spanish forest ecosystems and for the study of the alteration of different organic materials in the course of progressive heating in laboratory simulation experiments. The material s studied included: whole soils and sapric peat, isolated soil humic fractions, lignocellulosic biomass and preparations of cellulose. Among our findings, it can be emphasized: (i) the importance of the abiotic transformation of aliphatic precursors into aromatic macromolecules under present-day environmental conditions, (ii) a therrnal neoforrnation of heterocyclic N-forms, (iii) changes in the solubility properties of the soluble and colloidal SOM fractions, (iv) a preferentialloss of oxygen-containing functional groups and O-alkyl aliphatic structures, and (v) changes in the SOM macromolecular structure, probably related to the accumulation of a resistant alkyl moiety. In general, our results from laboratory experiments agreed with those obtained from soils affected by wildfires in different Continental Mediterranean forest forrnations. The results are discussed in terrns of the natural stabilization mechanisms of the most refractory SOM forrns, which is of particular interest in the study of the global C and N biogeochemical cycles.
Description48 pages, 20 figures, 11 tables, 150 references.
Appears in Collections:(IRNAS) Libros y partes de libros
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