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Article
Integrating plant litter quality, soil organic matter stabilization, and the carbon saturation concept
Global Change Biology
  • Michael J. Castellano, Iowa State University
  • Kevin E. Mueller, United States Department of Agriculture
  • Daniel C. Olk, United States Department of Agriculture
  • John E. Sawyer, Iowa State University
  • Johan Six, ETH-Zurich
Document Type
Article
Publication Version
Published Version
Publication Date
9-1-2015
DOI
10.1111/gcb.12982
Comments

Labile, ‘high-quality’, plant litters are hypothesized to promote soil organic matter (SOM) stabilization in mineral soil fractions that are physicochemically protected from rapid mineralization. However, the effect of litter quality on SOM stabilization is inconsistent. High-quality litters, characterized by high N concentrations, low C/N ratios, and low phenol/lignin concentrations, are not consistently stabilized in SOM with greater efficiency than ‘low-quality’ litters characterized by low N concentrations, high C/N ratios, and high phenol/lignin concentrations. Here, we attempt to resolve these inconsistent results by developing a new conceptual model that links litter quality to the soil C saturation concept. Our model builds on the Microbial Efficiency-Matrix Stabilization framework (Cotrufo et al., 2013) by suggesting the effect of litter quality on SOM stabilization is modulated by the extent of soil C saturation such that high-quality litters are not always stabilized in SOM with greater efficiency than low-quality litters.

Rights
Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.
Language
en
File Format
application/pdf
Citation Information
Michael J. Castellano, Kevin E. Mueller, Daniel C. Olk, John E. Sawyer, et al.. "Integrating plant litter quality, soil organic matter stabilization, and the carbon saturation concept" Global Change Biology Vol. 21 Iss. 9 (2015) p. 3200 - 3209
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/john-sawyer/107/