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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Comparison of fractionation methods for soil organic matter 14C analysis

  • Author(s): Trumbore, SE
  • Zheng, S
  • et al.

14 C measurements provide a useful test for determining the degree to which chemical and physical fractionation of soil organic matter (SOM) are successful in separating labile and refractory organic matter components. Results from AMS measurements of fractionated SOM made as part of several projects are summarized here, together with suggestions for standardization of fractionation procedures. Although no single fractionation method will unequivocally separate SOM into components cycling on annual, decadal and millennial time scales, a combination of physical (density separation or sieving) and chemical separation methods (combined acid and base hydrolysis) provides useful constraints for models of soil carbon dynamics in several soil types.

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