Curve-fitting techniques improve the mid-infrared analysis of soil organic carbon: a case study for Brookston clay loam particle-size fractions
Fan, R., Yang, X., Drury, C.F., Zhang, Z. (2018). Curve-fitting techniques improve the mid-infrared analysis of soil organic carbon: a case study for Brookston clay loam particle-size fractions, 8(1), http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-30704-2
© 2018, The Author(s). Few studies have evaluated structural features of soil organic carbon (SOC) in different soil particle fractions, especially SOC changes induced by tillage, using Fourier transformed mid-infrared (MIR) spectroscopy. To make a contribution in this context, soil samples of a Brookston clay loam (mesic Typic Argiaquoll) with averaged pH and organic matter concentration at 7.28 and 43.9 g kg−1, respectively, were collected from short-term no-tillage (NT97) and mouldboard plow (CT97) treatments initiated in 1997 and long-term no-tillage (NT83) and mouldboard plow (CT83) treatments initiated in 1983 under a corn-soybean rotation, and were separated into sand, silt, and clay fractions using sonication. Structural features of SOC in these soil fractions were investigated using curve-fitting analysis of mid-infrared (MIR) spectra. Aromatic C content was found to be greater in clay- than in sand-sized fractions, while aliphatic C content was higher in sand- than in silt- and clay-sized particles. With decrease in tillage intensity, the aliphatic C gradually increased in sand- and clay-sized fractions but not in the silt-sized fraction. The aliphatic C content in sand fraction was significantly greater in NT83 than CT83 (P < 0.05). The aromatic C in silt- and clay-sized fractions was greater in NT83 than in both CT soils, whereas aromatic C contents were higher in both CT soils than in NT83 soil. Significantly higher aromatic/aliphatic C ratio in CT83 than NT83 was found in sand-sized fractions, while the opposite trend was found in the silt-sized fraction. These findings were not apparent until the curve-fitting technique was employed, which has the capacity to quantify many overlapped bands in the spectra. This study demonstrates that the curve-fitting of MIR spectra advances the analysis of organic matter in soil samples.
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