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Characterization of plant-derived water extractable organic matter by multiple spectroscopic techniques

He, Z., Mao, J., Honeycutt, C.W., Ohno, T., Hunt, J.F., Cade-Menun, B.J. (2009). Characterization of plant-derived water extractable organic matter by multiple spectroscopic techniques, 45(6), 609-616.


Water extractable organic matter (WEOM) derived from fresh- or early-stage decomposing soil amendment materials may play an important role in the process of organic matter accumulation. In this study, eight WEOM samples extracted with a 40:1 (v/w) water to sample ratio from alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), corn (Zea mays L.), crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.), hairy vetch (Vicia villosa L.), lupin (Lupinus albus L.), soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and dairy manure were investigated using ultraviolet (UV)-visible, Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR), solution 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and solid state 13C NMR spectroscopies. UV-visible and FT-IR spectra of the plant-derived WEOM samples were typical for natural organic matter, but possessed less humic-like characteristics than dairy manure-derived WEOM. Solution 31P NMR spectra indicated that WEOM samples extracted from alfalfa, corn, and soybean shoots contained both orthophosphate and monoester P. Of the monoester P in WEOM from soybean shoot, 70% was phytate P. WEOM from crimson clover, hairy vetch, lupin, and wheat shoots contained orthophosphate only. The solid-state 13C NMR spectra of the seven plant-derived WEOM samples indicated that they all were primarily composed of sugars, amino acids or peptides, and low molecular mass carboxylic acids. Carbohydrates were dominant components with very few aromatics present in these samples. In addition, WEOM from crimson clover and lupin, but not other three leguminous plant WEOM samples, contained significant asparagine. On the other hand, WEOM from corn and wheat contained less amino acids or peptides. The spectra of WEOM of dairy manure revealed the presence of significant amounts of nonprotonated carbons and lignin residues, suggesting humification of the manure-derived WEOM. Significant carbohydrates as well as aromatics were present in this WEOM. The P and C bonding information for these WEOM samples may be useful for understanding the effects of WEOM on soil nutrient availability to plants. © Springer-Verlag 2009.

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