Mineral vs. organic matter supply as a limiting factor for the formation of mineral-associated organic matter in forest and agricultural soils

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Physical and chemical interactions between soil organic matter (OM) and minerals is one of the primary mechanisms for stabilizing OM in terrestrial ecosystems. Focusing on OM association with mineral surfaces, this study sought to examine mineral-associated OM from the perspectives of both mineral surface characteristics and organic matter chemistry. The research was conducted at paired-sites under North American Mid-Atlantic Coastal forest and crop production with shared environmental factors. Using carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) 1s micro- X-ray absorption near-edge fine structure (XANES) spectroscopy, we investigated the amounts and types of mineral-associated OM. Mineral specific surface area (SSA) of bulk soil was determined for three conditions: untreated, post OM removal and post iron (Fe) (oxyhydr)oxides removal. Amounts of mineral-associated OM were smaller in the agricultural soil, where greater SSA sourced from clay-sized phyllosilicates and Fe (oxyhydr)oxide minerals did not result in greater OM coverage of the mineral surface area. Although agricultural surface soil showed less abundance of phenolic C, speciation of mineral-associated OM did not differ between comparable horizons. Our results suggest that despite the plow-derived mixing of soil, which increased SSA and secondary minerals available to interact physically and chemically with OM in the plowed layer, the formation of mineral-associated OM in agricultural soil is ultimately limited by available OM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-353
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Nov 20 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Junling Ji for XRD analyses and iron oxide content measurements as a part of her M.S. thesis research. The carbon and nitrogen X-ray absorption spectroscopy reported in this paper was performed at the Canadian Light Source (CLS), which is supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the University of Saskatchewan, the Government of Saskatchewan, Western Economic Diversification Canada, the National Research Council Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. We thank J. Dynes, T. Regier, and Z. Arthur for their assistance at the CLS's SGM beamline. This work was funded by a National Science Foundation grant to Yoo ( EAR1253198 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019


  • Agricultural management
  • Chemical composition
  • Iron oxides
  • Mineral-associated organic carbon
  • Specific mineral surface area


Dive into the research topics of 'Mineral vs. organic matter supply as a limiting factor for the formation of mineral-associated organic matter in forest and agricultural soils'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this