Belanger, M., C. Vizza, G. P. Robertson, and S. S. Roley. 2021. Quantifying and correcting for pre-assay CO2 loss in short-term carbon mineralization assays. SOIL 7:47-52.

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The active fraction of soil organic carbon is an important component of soil health and often is quickly assessed as the pulse of CO2 released by re-wetting dried soils in short-term (24–72 h) assays. However, soils can lose carbon © as they dry and, if soil samples vary in moisture content at sampling, differential C loss during the pre-assay dry-down period may complicate the assay’s interpretations. We examined the impact of pre-assay CO2 loss in a long-cultivated agricultural soil at initial moisture contents of 30 %, 50 %, and 70 % water-filled pore space (WFPS). We found that 50 % and 70 % WFPS treatments lost more C during drying than did those in the 30 % WFPS treatment and that dry-down losses led to a 26 %–32 % underestimate of their CO2 pulses. We developed a soil-specific correction factor to account for these initial soil moisture effects. Future C mineralization studies may benefit from similar corrections.

DOI: 10.5194/soil-7-47-2021

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Lysimeter Field Methods

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