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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 66 No. 3, p. 845-847
    Received: June 11, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): Chang.Liang@EC.GC.CA


Maize root-induced change in soil organic carbon pools

  1. B. C. Liang *a,
  2. X. L. Wangb and
  3. B. L. Mab
  1. a Greenhouse Gas Division, Pollution Data Branch, Environment Canada, 19th Floor, 351 St-Joseph Blvd., Hull, QC, K1A 0H3 Canada
    b Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre (ECORC), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0C6 Canada


Quantification of root or root-induced changes in soil organic C (SOC), water-soluble organic C (WSOC), and microbial biomass C (MBC) is important for understanding processes of soil C storage. A greenhouse study was conducted on a Bainsville loamy sand (Typic Hapludoll) to evaluate root or root-induced quantitative and compositional changes in various SOC pools by growing corn (Zea mays L.), a C4 plant, on a historically C3 soil. Significant shifts in 13C of SOC pools, most noticeably in WSOC and MBC were observed. During the course of a growing season, the proportion of C4-derived C varied from 0 to 12.3% of whole SOC, from 0 to 30.7% of WSOC, and from 0 to 52% of MBC, indicating a major contribution of root or root-induced C to various soil C components, especially WSOC and MBC. The amount of C4-derived C in the entire soil estimated by the 13C natural abundance (δ13C) was remarkably consistent with the amount of C4-C retained in the soil microbial biomass, WSOC, and corn roots, suggesting that measurements of 13C of the entire soil following the shift of C3 to C4 plants can be used as an indirect measure of root or root-induced C pools during the growing period.

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Copyright © 2002. Soil Science SocietyPublished in Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.66:845–847.