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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 24 No. 2, p. 107-109
    Received: Aug 17, 1959
    Accepted: Sept 17, 1959

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Behavior of Free Amino Acids in Soil1

  1. E. L. Schmidt,
  2. H. D. Putnam and
  3. E. A. Paul2



The behavior of a mixture of amino acids in a soil environment was studied. Extractions were made with 80% ethanol. The extract was concentrated and then was analyzed for amino acids by gradient elution chromatography. After 1 hour of soil contact in the cold, at least some of each amino acid could be recovered, but the extraction was not efficient. Replicate soil flasks to which amino acids had been added were incubated at 28° C. under conditions that allowed for both CO2 and amino acid analysis of the same flask. After 24 hours, substantial degradation had occurred but at least trace amounts of each of the added amino acids except threonine could still be detected. Beta alanine appeared on the 24-hour chromatogram although it was not among the amino acids added initially. Results of both chromatographic analysis and CO2 collection suggested that nearly all of the added amino acids were degraded by the end of 96 hours. Separate studies using microbiological assay failed to confirm the persistence of threonine in soil as reported in the literature. The possibility that the beta alanine found in the soil environment was formed from aspartic acid decarboxylation was explored, but large additions of aspartic acid to soil did not result in substantial increases in beta alanine.

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