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Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Vol. 92, No: 5, 2012, Pages: 1031 - 7

Restricted mineralization of fresh organic materials incorporated into a subtropical paddy soil

Wu J, Zhou P, Li L, Su Y, Yuan H, Syers JK

Key Laboratory of Agro-ecological Processes in the Subtropical Region, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changsha, China.



Microbial activities involved in the dynamics of organic matter determine the potential for organic carbon (C) accumulation in soil. To understand this for paddy soil, an incubation experiment (25 °C, 45% water-holding capacity) was established using (14)C-labelled glucose and rice straw (500 µg C g(-1) soil) as substrates; an adjacent upland soil was used for comparison.


The amount of microbial biomass in the paddy soil was approximately 6 times larger and its turnover rate was 1.5-3 times faster than in the upland soil. These proportions of (14)C-labelled glucose and rice straw mineralized in the paddy soil were about 3% smaller (P < 0.01) than those in the upland soil. Also, there was no significant priming effect of fresh substrate additions on the mineralization of native organic C in the paddy soil, while the priming effect was significant in the upland soil.


Although the paddy soil contains a large amount of microbial biomass, which is also very active, the mineralization of fresh substrates is significantly restricted in this soil, along with a small priming effect. This favours the accumulation of organic C in paddy soils.

Keywords:organic matter determine the potential for organic carbon (C) accumulation in soil,substrates; an adjacent upland soil was used for comparison.


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