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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Manganese-Driven Carbon Oxidation at Oxic-Anoxic Interfaces

  • Author(s): Jones, ME
  • Nico, PS
  • Ying, S
  • Regier, T
  • Thieme, J
  • Keiluweit, M
  • et al.

Copyright © 2018 American Chemical Society. The formation of reactive manganese (Mn) species is emerging as a key regulator of carbon oxidation rates, and thus CO2 emissions, in soils and sediments. Many subsurface environments are characterized by steep oxygen gradients, forming oxic-anoxic interfaces that enable rapid redox cycling of Mn. Here, we examined the impact of Mn(II)aq oxidation along oxic-anoxic interfaces on carbon oxidation in soils using laboratory-based diffusion reactors. A combination of cyclic voltammetry, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and X-ray microprobe imaging revealed a tight coupling between Mn(II)aq oxidation and carbon oxidation at the oxic-anoxic interface. Specifically, zones of Mn(II)aq oxidation across the oxic-anoxic transition also exhibited the greatest lignin oxidation potential, carbon solubilization, and oxidation. Microprobe imaging further revealed that the generation of Mn(III)-dominated precipitates coincided with carbon oxidation. Combined, our findings demonstrate that biotic Mn(II)aq oxidation, specifically the formation of Mn(III) species, contributes to carbon oxidation along oxic-anoxic interfaces in soils and sediments. Our results suggest that we should regard carbon oxidation not merely as a function of molecular composition, which insufficiently predicts rates, but in relation to microenvironments favoring the formation of critically important oxidants such as Mn(III).

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