Carbon Mineralization Associated with Soil Aggregates as Affected by Short-term Tillage

  • 1. Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan

Received date: 2016-01-15

  Revised date: 2016-02-25

  Online published: 2016-04-12

Supported by

This research was supported by the 100 Talents Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Natural Science Foundation of China (31570472), and the Science and Technology Service Network Initiative of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KFJ-EW-STS-054)


Tillage practice has received much attention due to its effects on greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural fields. The understanding of carbon mineralization associated with soil aggregates helps to explore the influence mechanisms of tillage practice on soil carbon dynamics. Total carbon and carbon mineralization rates associated with various sizes of soil aggregates under no-tillage and tillage treatments were studied with a volcanic ash soil. Total carbon content in microaggregates (<0.25 mm) was higher than that in macroaggregates (>0.25 mm) for both the no-tillage and tillage treatments, since microaggregates of the volcanic ash soil include more fine silts and clay particles absorbing more organic agents. The carbon mineralization rate and total carbon were highly correlated (R2 = 0.6552, P = 0.002) for both treatments, suggesting that soil aggregate size is an important factor to influence the carbon mineralization rate. The no-tillage system showed the advantage of improving soil structure for volcanic ash soil. A larger proportion of microaggregates with relatively high carbon mineralization might contribute to the greater carbon loss from tilled soils. Unlike aggregate size, short-term tillage showed no significant effects on carbon mineralization rates associated with aggregates in a specific size class.

Cite this article

GUO Linlin, NISHIMURA Taku, IMOTO Hiromi, SUN Zhigang . Carbon Mineralization Associated with Soil Aggregates as Affected by Short-term Tillage[J]. Journal of Resources and Ecology, 2016 , 7(2) : 101 -106 . DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2016.02.004


1 Alvaro-Fuentes J, C Cantero-Martinez, M V Lopez, et al . 2007. Soil carbon dioxide fluxes following tillage in semiarid Mediterranean agroecosystemsc . Soil & Tillage Research , 96: 331-341.
2 An S, A Mentler, H Mayer, et al . 2010. Soil aggregation, aggregate stability, organic carbon and nitrogen in different soil aggregate fractions under forest and shrub vegetation on the Loess Plateau, China. Catena , 81: 226-233.
3 Ashman M R, P D Hallett, P C Brookes. 2003. Are the links between soil aggregate size class, soil organic matter and respiration rate artefacts of the fractionation procedure? Soil Biology & Biochemistry , 35: 435-444.
4 Blake G R, K H Hartge. 1986a. Bulk density. In A. Klute (ed.) Methods of soil analysis: Part 1. Physical and mineralogical methods. Madison: ASA and SSSA, 363-375.
5 Blake G R, K H Hartge. 1986b. Particle density. In A. Klute (ed.) Methods of soil analysis: Part 1. Physical and mineralogical methods. Madison: ASA and SSSA, 377-382.
6 Drury C F, X M Yang, W D Reynolds, et al . 2004. Influence of crop rotation and aggregate size on carbon dioxide production and denitritication. Soil & Tillage Research , 79: 87-100.
7 Gee G W, J W Bauder. 1986. Particle-size analysis. In A. Klute (ed.) Methods of soil analysis: Part 1. Physical and mineralogical methods. Madison: ASA and SSSA, 383-411.
8 Guo L, T Nishimura, H Imoto, et al . 2015. Applicability of soil column incubation experiments to measure CO 2 efflux. International Agrophysics , 29: 413-421.
9 Helgason B L, F L Walley, J J Germida. 2010. No-till soil management increases microbial biomass and alters community profiles in soil aggregates. Applied Soil Ecology , 46: 390-397.
10 Jagadamma S, R Lal. 2010. Distribution of organic carbon in physical fractions of soils as affected by agricultural management. Biology and Fertility of Soils , 46: 543-554.
11 Jiang X, A L Wright, J Wang, et al . 2011. Long-term tillage effects on the distribution patterns of microbial biomass and activities within soil aggregates. Catena , 87: 276-280.
12 Kemper W D, R C Rosenau. 1986. Aggregate stability and size distribution. In A. Klute (ed.) Methods of soil analysis: Part 1. Physical and mineralogical methods. Madison: ASA and SSSA, 425-442.
13 Klute A, C Dirksen. 1986. Hydraulic conductivity and diffusivity: Laboratory methods. In A. Klute (ed.) Methods of soil analysis: Part 1. Physical and mineralogical methods. Madison: ASA and SSSA, 687-734.
14 Lal R. 2010. Managing soils and ecosystems for mitigating anthropogenic carbon emissions and advancing global food security. Bioscience , 60: 708-721.
15 Lipiec J, R Walczak, B Witkowska-Walczak, et al . 2007. The effect of aggregate size on water retention and pore structure of two silt loam soils of different genesis. Soil & Tillage Research , 97: 239-246.
16 Mangalassery S, S Sjogersten, D L Sparkes, et al . 2013. The effect of soil aggregate size on pore structure and its consequence on emission of greenhouse gases. Soil & Tillage Research , 132: 39-46.
17 Onweremadu E U, V N Onyia, M A N Anikwe. 2007. Carbon and nitrogen distribution in water-stable aggregates under two tillage techniques in Fluvisols of Owerri area, southeastern Nigeria. Soil & Tillage Research , 97: 195-206.
18 Paul B K, B Vanlauwe, F Ayuke, et al . 2013. Medium-term impact of tillage and residue management on soil aggregate stability, soil carbon and crop productivity. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment , 164: 14-22.
19 Prado B, C Duwig, C Hidalgo, et al . 2007. Characterization, functioning and classification of two volcanic soil profiles under different land uses in Central Mexico. Geoderma , 139: 300-313.
20 Rahman M H, A Okubo, S Sugiyama, et al . 2008. Physical, chemical and microbiological properties of an Andisol as related to land use and tillage practice. Soil & Tillage Research , 101: 10-19.
21 Sey B K, A M Manceur, J K Whalen, et al . 2008. Small-scale heterogeneity in carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane production from aggregates of a cultivated sandy-loam soil. Soil Biology & Biochemistry , 40: 2468-2473.
22 Simansky V, E Balashov, J Horak. 2016. Water stability of soil aggregates and their ability to sequester carbon in soils of vineyards in Slovakia. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science , 62: 177-197.
23 Singer A. 2008. Classification of Soils: FAO. Encyclopedia of Soil Science. Springer Netherlands, 111-113.
24 Six J, E T Elliott, K Paustian. 2000. Soil macroaggregate turnover and microaggregate formation: a mechanism for C sequestration under no-tillage agriculture. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 32: 2099-2103.
25 Six J, K Paustian. 2014. Aggregate-associated soil organic matter as an ecosystem property and a measurement tool. Soil Biology & Biochemistry , 68: A4-A9.
26 Sul W J, S Asuming-Brempong, Q Wang, et al . 2013. Tropical agricultural land management influences on soil microbial communities through its effect on soil organic carbon. Soil Biology & Biochemistry , 65: 33-38.
27 Sundermeier A P, K R Islam, Y Raut, et al . 2011. Continuous no-till impacts on soil biophysical carbon sequestration. Soil Science Society of America Journal , 75: 1779-1788.
28 Tenesaca C G, M M Al-Kaisi. 2015. In-field management of corn cob and residue mix: Effect on soil greenhouse gas emissions. Applied Soil Ecology , 89: 59-68.
29 Tisdall J M, J M Oades. 1982. Organic- matter and water- stable aggregates in soils. European Journal of Soil Science , 33: 141-163.
30 Trivedi P, I J Rochester, C Trivedi, et al . 2015. Soil aggregate size mediates the impacts of cropping regimes on soil carbon and microbial communities. Soil Biology & Biochemistry , 91: 169-181.
31 Vor T, J Dyckmans, N Loftfield, et al . 2003. Aeration effects on CO 2 , N 2 O, and CH 4 emission and leachate composition of a forest soil. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science , 166: 39-45.
32 Wander M M, G A Bollero. 1999. Soil quality assessment of tillage impacts in Illinois. Soil Science Society of America Journal , 63: 961-971.
33 Zhao L P, Y J Sun, X P Zhang, et al . 2006. Soil organic carbon in clay and silt sized particles in Chinese mollisols: Relationship to the predicted capacity. Geoderma , 132: 315-323.
34 Zuber S M, G D Behnke, E D Nafziger, et al . 2015. Crop rotation and tillage effects on soil physical and chemical properties in Illinois. Agronomy Journal , 107: 971-978.