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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 40 No. 3, p. 377-380
    Received: Sept 29, 1975
    Accepted: Jan 22, 1976

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Decomposition of Specifically Carbon-14-labeled Ferulic Acid: Free and Linked into Model Humic Acid-type Polymers1

  1. J. P. Martin and
  2. K. Haider2



Side chain 1-14C, 2-14C, and 3-14C, O14CH3 and ring 14C-labeled ferulic acids were synthesized and incubated with Greenfield sandy loam top soil at rates of 100 and 1,000 ppm. The loss of the specifically labeled carbons as 14CO2 over a 12-week period ranged from 44 to 78% and averaged 64 and 68% for the 100 and 1,000 ppm additions, respectively. The smallest loss occurred from the 2-14C (side chain) and the greatest from the 3-14C (side chain) and the O14CH3 carbons. Losses of 14CO2 from specifically 1 and 2-14C-labeled acetic, and 1-, 2-, and 3-14C pyruvic acids and from 14COOH-labeled vanillic and protocatechuic acids, all of which are common metabolic products noted during the microbial decomposition of ferulic acid, averaged about 84%. After linkage into model humic acid type polymers from hydroxyphenols and toluenes by phenolase oxidative polymerization, losses of 14C ranged from 7 to 25%. Greatest losses were from the 3-carbon of the side chain and least from the ring carbons. Losses for ring and side chain carbons after linkage into polymers from hydroxybenzoic acids varied from 3 to 7%. Losses of about 21% occurred from the O14CH3 groups. When labeled ferulic or vanillic acids were added to cultures of Stachybotrys chartarum or Hendersonula toruloidea, from 11 to 52% of the ring 14C was incorporated into the humic acid-type phenolic polymers formed in the nutrient solutions. Only 3 to 4% of the ring carbons of veratric acid were incorporated into the “humic acid” fraction of these fungi.

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