Soil organic carbon mobility in equatorial podzols: soil column experiments

Merdy, Patricia; Lucas, Yves; Coulomb, Bruno; Melfi, Adolpho J.; Montes, Célia R.

Transfer of organic carbon from topsoil horizons to deeper horizons and to the water table is still little documented, in particular in equatorial environments, despite the high primary productivity of the evergreen forest. Due to its complexing capacity, organic carbon also plays a key role in the transfer of metals in the soil profile and, therefore, in pedogenesis and for metal mobility. Here we focus on equatorial podzols, which are known to play an important role in carbon cycling. We carried out soil column experiments using soil material and percolating solution sampled in an Amazonian podzol area in order to better constrain the conditions of the transfer of organic carbon at depth. The dissolved organic matter (DOM) produced in the topsoil was not able to percolate through the clayey, kaolinitic material from the deep horizons and was retained in it. When it previously percolated through the Bh material, there was production of fulvic-like, protein-like compounds and small carboxylic acids able to percolate through the clayey material and increase the mobility of Al, Fe and Si. Podzolic processes in the Bh can, therefore, produce a DOM likely to be transferred to the deep water table, playing a role in the carbon balances at the profile scale and, owing to its complexing capacity, playing a role in deep horizon pedogenesis and weathering. The order of magnitude of carbon concentration in the solution percolating at depth was around 1.5–2.5 mg Linline-formula−1. Our findings reveal a fundamental mechanism that favors the formation of very thick kaolinitic saprolites.



Merdy, Patricia / Lucas, Yves / Coulomb, Bruno / et al: Soil organic carbon mobility in equatorial podzols: soil column experiments. 2021. Copernicus Publications.


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