Biophysicochemical properties of the eroded southern chernozem (Trans-Ural Steppe, Russia) with emphasis on the 13C NMR spectroscopy of humic acids

Suleymanov A., Polyakov V., Komissarov M., Suleymanov R., Gabbasova I., Garipov T., Saifullin I., Abakumov E. (2022): Biophysicochemical properties of the eroded southern chernozem (Trans-Ural Steppe, Russia) with emphasis on the 13C NMR spectroscopy of humic acids. Soil & Water Res., 17: 222–231. 

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The morphological, water-physical and chemical properties, basal respiration of the southern chernozem (Chernozem Haplic Endosalic) and erosional sediment in the Trans-Ural steppe zone (Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia) were studied. The surface soil horizon significantly differs from the sediment by the better structure and water aggregate stability. The particle size distribution of the sediments, due to erosion, contains more silt and clay fractions compared to the slope soil. It indicates a great potential for the carbon saturation of the soil which is limited by degradation. The slope soil is slightly saline, the type of the salinisation is sulfate with the participation of hydrocarbonates. The СО2 emissions, the organic carbon and alkaline-hydrolysable nitrogen content is low; and significantly lower than in the erosional sediment, but the content of exchangeable cations and water-soluble salts is higher. The structural composition of the humic acid (HA) extracted from the soil and erosional sediments was determined by 13C NMR spectroscopy. Aliphatic structural fragments predominate (65%) with a maximum signal level in the area of C, H-alkyls in the HA of the surface horizon. In the HA of the erosional sediment, the proportion of aromatic structural fragments is higher (up to 59%), which is associated with the processes of hydrolysis and condensation. In the HA of the slope soil, the formation of predominantly C, H-alkyls, oxygen-containing groups, including carboxyl ones, takes place. Differences in the composition of the structural fragments and functional groups of the soil and sediment HA are due to the different stability of the organic matter under conditions of the development of the soil erosion processes.

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