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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Decomposition of Specifically Carbon-14 Labeled Benzoic and Cinnamic Acid Derivatives in Soil1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 39 No. 4, p. 657-662
    Received: Nov 11, 1974
    Accepted: Feb 12, 1975

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  1. K. Haider and
  2. J. P. Martin2



Specifically 14C-labeled benzoic, phenolcarboxylic, and hydroxycinnamic acids were synthesized. The loss of the labeled carbon as 14CO2 upon incubation at 100 and 1,000 ppm in a neutral soil with and without the addition of 2% freeze-dried humic acid or 0.5% finely ground peach wood (Prunus persica) was followed over a 12-week incubation period. Under the experimental conditions the phenolic compounds were readily degraded in the soil. Within 1 week about 90% of the COOH carbon of p-hydroxybenzoic, syringic, vanillic, and anisic acids had evolved as CO2. After 12 weeks this had increased to about 95%. Loss of the 14COOH carbon of 6-methylsalicylic acid was about 75% at 1 week and 87% after 12 weeks. About 42 to 85% of the side chain carbons of p-hydroxycinnamic acid and caffeic acids evolved as CO2 and from 66 to 85% of the ring carbon of protocatechuic, benzoic, vanillic, veratric, and caffeic acids was lost over the incubation period. The addition of peach wood or humic acid exerted very little effect on the decomposition rate and total decomposition of the phenols and the phenols did not influence the decomposition rate or total decomposition of the peach wood. The percentage distribution of the residual activity from 3-14C p-hydroxycinnamic acid, ring-14C benzoic acid, and O14CH3 syringic acid varied from 14 to 21, 17 to 32, and 23 to 59% for the humic acid, fulvic acid, and residual soil fractions, respectively. Linkage into model phenolase polymers greatly retarded decomposition rate. Loss of ring carbon varied from 3 to 6% and side chain and COOH carbons from 8 to 75%. The higher losses occurred from COOH groups of single hydroxybenzoic acids linked into model phenolase polymers from hydroxytoluenes and hydroxyphenols.

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