Thermal stability responses of soil organic matter to long-term fertilization practices
We used differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to infer thermal properties of soil organic matter (SOM) in the static fertilization experiment in Bad Lauchstädt, Germany, which has been established in 1902. Four treatments (null N, change from null to manuring in 1978 NM, change from manuring to null in 1978 MN, and permanent manure and mineral fertilization since 1902 M) were sampled in 2004. Soil organic carbon contents were highest for M (2.4%), lowest for N (1.7%), and similar for MN and NM (2.2%). Three heat flow peaks at around 354°C, 430°C, and 520°C, which were assigned to as thermally labile and stable SOM and combustion residues from lignite, respectively, characterized DSC thermograms. DSC peak temperatures were relatively constant among treatments, but peak heights normalized to the organic C content of the soil were significantly different for labile and stable SOM. Labile C was higher for M>MN=NM=N, and stable C decreased in the order N=NM>MN=M, showing that agricultural depletion of SOM increases the share of thermally stable C. Lignite-derived C was not affected by management, suggesting a homogeneous deposition across treatments.