|Quantitative assessment of microbial necromass contribution to soil organic matter
|Liang, C.; Amelung, W.; Lehmann, J.; Kästner, M.
|Global Change Biology
|amino sugar; ecosystem sustainability; microbial anabolism; microbial biomarker; microbial residue; soil organic carbon
|Soil carbon transformation and sequestration have received significant interest in recent years due to a growing need for quantitating its role in mitigating climate change. Even though our understanding of the nature of soil organic matter has recently been substantially revised, fundamental uncertainty remains about the quantitative importance of microbial necromass as part of persistent organic matter. Addressing this uncertainty has been hampered by the absence of quantitative assessments whether microbial matter makes up the majority of the persistent carbon in soil. Direct quantitation of microbial necromass in soil is very challenging because of an overlapping molecular signature with nonmicrobial organic carbon. Here, we use a comprehensive analysis of existing biomarker amino sugar data published between 1996 and 2018, combined with novel appropriation using an ecological systems approach, elemental carbon–nitrogen stoichiometry, and biomarker scaling, to demonstrate a suit of strategies for quantitating the contribution of microbe‐derived carbon to the topsoil organic carbon reservoir in global temperate agricultural, grassland, and forest ecosystems. We show that microbial necromass can make up more than half of soil organic carbon. Hence, we suggest that next‐generation field management requires promoting microbial biomass formation and necromass preservation to maintain healthy soils, ecosystems, and climate. Our analyses have important implications for improving current climate and carbon models, and helping develop management practices and policies.
|Persistent UFZ Identifier
|Liang, C., Amelung, W., Lehmann, J., Kästner, M. (2019):
Quantitative assessment of microbial necromass contribution to soil organic matter
Glob. Change Biol. 25 (11), 3578 - 3590