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Science of The Total Environment
Volume 760, 2021, 143397

Contribution of the Fenton reaction and ligninolytic enzymes to soil organic matter mineralisation under anoxic conditions

Carolina Merinoa,b,c, Francisco Matusb,c, Yakov Kuzyakovd,f,g, Jens Dyckmanse, Svenja Stockh, Michaela A.Dippoldh

Center of Plant, Soil Interaction and Natural Resources Biotechnology Scientific and Technological Bioresource Nucleus (BIOREN), Temuco, Chile.


Mechanisms of carbon dioxide (CO2) release from soil in the absence of oxygen were studied considering the Fenton process, which encompasses the reaction of H2O2 with Fe(II) yielding a hydroxyl radical (OH), in combination with manganese peroxidase (MnP) and lignin peroxidase (LiP). This study aimed to explain the high rate of soil organic matter (SOM) mineralisation and CO2 release from humid temperate rainforest soils under oxygen-limited conditions. The investigated mechanisms challenge the traditional view that SOM mineralisation in rainforest is slow due to anaerobic (micro)environments under high precipitation and explain intensive CO2 release even under oxygen limitation. We hypothesised that the Fenton reaction (FR) greatly contributes to the CO2 released from SOM mineralised under anaerobic conditions especially in the presence of ligninolytic enzymes. We used a novel technique that combines labelled H218O2 and Fe(II) to induce the FR and measured CO18O, Fe(II) solubilisation, and peroxide consumption in a closed gas circulation system for 6 h. Maximal CO2 amount was released when the FR was induced in combination with LiP addition. The CO2 efflux with LiP was 10-fold that of abiotic FR reactions without enzymes, or in soils amended with MnP. This was consistent with i) the contribution of 18O from peroxide to CO2 release, ii) peroxide consumption, and iii) Fe(II) solubilisation by FR. The amount of consumed peroxide was closely correlated with the CO18O derived from soil without enzyme addition or with LiP addition. Concluding, abiotic Fenton Reaction coupled with oxidative enzymes, such as LiP, are crucial for SOM oxidation under anaerobic conditions, e.g. in temperate rainforest soils.

Keywords: Fenton oxidation, Anoxic environment, Hydrogen peroxide, Ligninolytic and oxidative enzymes, Carbon cycle.

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