Purpose Soil organic matter (SOM) ageing may be measured by means of molecular signatures, ratios between organic com- pounds which inform us about the origin and/or the degree of biochemical evolution of (or microbial contribution to) specific groups of compounds: lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, etc. Owing to the biochemical heterogeneity of decomposing substrates, it is unlikely that the degree of biochemical evolution can be approached with a single ratio. Nevertheless, obtaining a wide collection of molecular signatures can be costly. Materials and methods Instead of applying specific methods to obtain a collection of ratios, we apply thermally assisted hydrolysis and methylation (THM), followed by GC-MS, to obtain a panoramic view of SOM composition. From the compounds identified after THM, several ratios were obtained. Three ratios are based on aliphatic compounds: (1) ratio between short-chain (≤ 20 C) and long-chain (> 20 C) alkanoic acids, (2) ratio between branched and long-chain alkanoic acids, (3) ratio between short- chain (C18) and long-chain (C22–C24) alkanols. Four ratios are based on lignin-derived monomers: (4) vanillic acid to vanillin, (5) syringic acid to syringaldehyde, (6) a combination of the two previous, and (7) the syringyl- to total lignin monomers. Finally, three ratios are based on
Journal of Soils and Sediments – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 2, 2018
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