Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1007/s11104-019-04331-3
Document Shareable Link
Title (Primary) Organic N deposition favours soil C sequestration by decreasing priming effect
Author Tian, P.; Liu, S.; Wang, Q.; Sun, T.; Blagodatskaya, E.
Journal Plant and Soil
Year 2019
Department BOOEK
Volume 445
Issue 1-2
Page From 439
Page To 451
Language englisch
Keywords N deposition form; Organic N; C addition level; Priming effect; Preferential utilization; C sequestration

Background and aims

Atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition alters the priming effect (PE), which is defined as the change in native soil organic carbon (SOC) decomposition by exogenous C inputs. However, how the priming intensity varies under chemically heterogeneous N deposition, particularly with increasing labile C input, remains unclear.


We collected soils from a temperate forest in northeastern China that had received simulated organic and/or inorganic N deposition for 6 years. The soils were incubated with or without three levels of 13C-labelled glucose solution for 152 days. CO2 emission and its 13C value were continuously measured to calculate the PE.


Enhanced SOC decomposition (i.e., a positive PE) was observed after glucose addition, regardless of the N deposition form. The PE intensity increased with the increase in the glucose addition level. However, organic N decreased the PE by 12.3-23.2%. The SOC-derived microbial biomass was 16.2-34.3% lower in organic N-treated soil, indicating that preferential utilization of exogenous labile C by microorganisms was responsible for the decrease in PE. The PE inhibition by organic N increased nonlinearly as a function of glucose level. Furthermore, the net annual change in SOC as a balance between the replenishment of added glucose-C and primed C was larger in organic N-treated soil due to a decrease in soil microbial metabolic quotient.


In this study, we found that organic N deposition inhibited the PE, and the inhibition effect was intensified with increasing C inputs, favouring SOC sequestration.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Tian, P., Liu, S., Wang, Q., Sun, T., Blagodatskaya, E. (2019):
Organic N deposition favours soil C sequestration by decreasing priming effect
Plant Soil 445 (1-2), 439 - 451