Soluble organic nitrogen pools in forest soils of subtropical Australia
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Soil soluble organic N (SON) plays an important role in N biogeochemical cycling. In this study, 22 surface forest soils (0-10 cm) were collected from southeast Queensland, Australia, to investigate the size of SON pools extracted by water and salt solutions. Approximately 5-45 mg SON kg-1, 2-42 mg SON kg-1 and 1-24 SON mg kg-1 were extracted by 2 M KCl, 0.5 M K2SO4 and water, on average, corresponding to about 21.1, 13.5 and 7.0 kg SON ha-1 at the 0-10 cm forest soils, respectively. These SON pools, on average, accounted for 39% (KCl extracts), 42% (K2SO4 extracts) and 43% (water extracts) of total soluble N (TSN), and 2.3% (KCl extracts), 1.3% (K2SO4 extracts) and 0.7% (water extracts) of soil total N, respectively. Large variation in SON pools observed across the sites in the present study may be attributed to a combination of factors including soil types, tree species, management practices and environmental conditions. Significant relationships were observed among the SON pools extracted by water, KCl and K2SO4 and microbial biomass N (MBN). In general, KCl and K2SO4 extracted more SON than water from the forest soils, while KCl extracted more SON than K2SO4. The SON and soluble organic C (SOC) in KCl, K2SO4 and water extracts were all positively related to soil organic C, total N and clay contents. This indicates that clay and soil organic matter play a key role in the retention of SON in soil.
Plant and Soil