Developments in Fractionation and Measurement of Soil Organic Carbon: A Review


Soil organic carbon (SOC) is the percentage measure of carbon (C) derived from living organisms in soil. Stability of soil organic matter (SOM) can be defined in terms of how easily C and nitrogen in the SOM can be decomposed. Due to the implications in the permanence of SOC during sequestration there is scientific interest in fractionation of SOM into different fractions. A large number of SOM fractionation procedures have been developed to distinguish between SOM to study whether it is liable or recalcitrant to activities of soil microbes. There are physical and chemical fractionation techniques. The former is based on particle size and density of soil samples or combination of the two, and the latter on the reaction of chemical on SOM for the separation of stable SOC. Each fraction of SOC in the laboratory can be commonly determined using wet oxidation by Walkley-Black method and dry combustion by LECO CN Analyzer. With the advancement in chemometric statistical techniques; faster, robust, cheaper and non-destructive methods are emerging. The chemometric statistical techniques do not require any reagents for analysis compared with the wet oxidation or dry combustion methods. Thus, these emerging techniques are highly attractive for studies where a large number of analyses are required. For in situ measurement of SOC, spectral reflectance technology is developed to facilitate instant measurement in the field using the sensors or by remote sensing.

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Y. Bajgai, N. Hulugalle, P. Kristiansen and M. McHenry, "Developments in Fractionation and Measurement of Soil Organic Carbon: A Review," Open Journal of Soil Science, Vol. 3 No. 8, 2013, pp. 356-360. doi: 10.4236/ojss.2013.38041.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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