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Impact of expected global warming on C mineralization in maritime Antarctic soils: results of laboratory experiments

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 July 2010

Juliana Vanir de Souza Carvalho
Departamento de Química, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Av. PH Rolfs, Viçosa, Minas Gerais, 36570-000, Brazil
Eduardo de Sá Mendonça*
Departamento de Produção Vegetal, Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Campus Alegre, 2950-000, Alegre, Espírito Santo, Brasil. Orientador no Programa de Pós-graduação em Solos e Nutrição de Plantas, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa, Minas Gerais, 36570-000, Brazil
Rui Tarcísio Barbosa
Departamento de Química, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Av. PH Rolfs, Viçosa, Minas Gerais, 36570-000, Brazil
Efrain Lázaro Reis
Departamento de Química, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Av. PH Rolfs, Viçosa, Minas Gerais, 36570-000, Brazil
Paulo Negrais Seabra
Centro de Pesquisas e Desenvolvimento, Petrobras, Av. Horácio Macedo 950, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 21941-915, Brazil
Carlos Ernesto G.R. Schaefer
Departamento de Solos, Universidade de Viçosa, Minas Gerais, 36570-000, Brazil
*corresponding author:


This study concerned the fragility of maritime Antarctic soils under increasing temperature, using the C dynamics and structural characteristics of humic substances as indicators. Working with four representative soils from King George Island (Lithic Thiomorphic Cryosol (LTC1 and LTC2), Ornithogenic Cryosol (OG) and Gelic Organosol (ORG)) we evaluated the total organic C and nitrogen contents, the oxidizable C and humic substances. Soil samples were incubated to assess the amount of C potentially mineralizable at temperatures typical of an Antarctic summer (5–14°C). Humic acids showed a higher aliphatic character and a smaller number of condensed aromatic groups, which suggests that these molecules from Antarctic soils are generally less resistant to microbial degradation than humic acids molecules from other regions. Based on 13C NMR spectra of MAS and CP/MAS, samples of soil humic acids of mineral soils (LTC1 and LTC2) have a higher content of aliphatic C, and heteroatom C, with lower levels of carbonyl and aromatic C, when compared with organic matter-rich soils (OG and ORG). Increasing incubation temperature led to a higher rate of mineralizable C in all soils. A sequence of soil fragility was suggested - LTC1 and LTC2 > OG > ORG - which showed a correlation with the Q10 coefficient and the ratio of labile and recalcitrant C fractions of soil organic matter (R2 = 0.83).

Biological Sciences
Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2010

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