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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 3, p. 823-833
    Received: Sept 21, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): maie@vmas.kitasato-u.ac.jp
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Changes in the Quality of Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter Leached from Senescent Leaf Litter during the Early Decomposition

  1. Satoshi Nishimuraa,
  2. Nagamitsu Maie *b,
  3. Mitsuhisa Babab,
  4. Takahiro Sudoc,
  5. Toshihiro Sugiurab and
  6. Eikichi Shimab
  1. a Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine & Animal Sciences, Kitasato Univ., 23-35-1 Higashi, Towada, Aomori 034-8628, Japan
    b School of Veterinary Medicine, Kitasato Univ., 23-35-1 Higashi, Towada, Aomori 034-8628, Japan
    c School of Veterinary Medicine & Animal Sciences, Kitasato Univ., 23-35-1 Higashi, Towada, Aomori 034-8628, Japan. Assigned to Associate Editor Tsutomu Ohno


Chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) leached from leaf litter is a major source of humus in mineral soil of forest ecosystems. While their functions and refractoriness depend on the physicochemical structure, there is little information on the quality of CDOM, especially for that leached in the very early stages of litter decomposition when a large amount of dissolved organic matter (DOM) is leached. This study aimed to better understand the variations/changes in the composition of CDOM leached from senescent leaf litter from two tree species during the early stage of decomposition. Leaf litter from a conifer tree (Japanese cedar, Cryptomeria japonica D. Don) and a deciduous broad-leaved tree (Konara oak, Quercus serrata Thunb.) were incubated in columns using simulated rainfall events periodically for a total of 300 d at 20°C. The quality of CDOM was investigated based on the fluorescence properties by using a combination of excitation–emission matrix fluorescence (EEM) and parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC). In addition, the phenolic composition of DOM was investigated at a molecular level by thermally assisted hydrolysis and methylation–gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (THM-GC-MS) in the presence of tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH). The EEM was statistically decomposed into eight fluorescence components (two tannin/peptide-like peaks, one protein-like peak, and five humic-like peaks). A significant contribution of tannin/peptide-like peaks was observed at the beginning of incubation, but these peaks decreased quickly and humic-like peaks increased within 1 mo of incubation. The composition of humic-like peaks was different between tree species and changed over the incubation period. Since tannin-derived phenolic compounds were detected in the DOM collected after 254 d of incubation on THM-GC-MS, it was suggested that tannins partially changed its structure, forming various humic-like peaks during the early decomposition.

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