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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 5, p. 912-915
    Received: Feb 23, 1977
    Accepted: Apr 12, 1977

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Decomposition of Carbon-14 Labeled Plant Material Under Tropical Conditions1

  1. D. S. Jenkinson and
  2. A. Ayanaba2



Ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) and maize (Zea mays) tissue uniformly labeled with 14C were mixed with soil and allowed to decompose under field conditions in the open or under shade. The incubations were done in the forest zone of Nigeria, using a range of contrasting Nigerian soils. Of the ryegrass Coriginally added to the soil, 20% remained after 1 year, falling to 14% after 2 years. After 1 year the soil retained slightly less maize C than ryegrass C, but the difference was small and the overall pattern of decomposition similar. There was little difference between the rate of decomposition under shade or in the open, even though soil temperatures were considerably greater in the open. A soil containing 6% clay (Apomu series) retained slightly less maize C after 1 year than a soil with 16% clay (Egbeda series), but in general the decomposition rates in the different soils were similar.

For ryegrass, the decomposition pattern was very similar under Nigerian conditions to that previously observed for the same plant material in England, except that the whole decomposition process was four times faster in Nigeria.

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