Characteristics and distributions of humic acid (HA) and soil organic matter (SOM) in a yellow soil profile and a limestone soil profile of the southwest China Karst area were systematically investigated to reveal their evolutions in different soils of the study area. The results showed that characteristics and distribution of SOM along the two soil profiles were notably different. Total organic carbon (TOC) contents of soil samples decreased just slightly along the limestone soil profile but sharply along the yellow soil profile. TOCs of the limestone soils were significantly higher than those of the corresponding yellow soils, and C/N ratios of SOMs showed a similar variation trend to that of TOCs, indicating that SOM can be better conserved in the limestone soil than in the yellow soil. The soil humic acids were exhaustively extracted and further fractionated according to their apparent molecular weights using ultrafiltration techniques to explore underlying conservation mechanisms. The result showed that C/N ratios of HAs from different limestone soil layers were relatively stable and that large molecular HA fractions predominated the bulk HA of the top soil, indicating that HA in the limestone profile was protected while bio and chemical degradations were retarded. Combined with organic elements contents and mineral contents of two soils, we concluded that high calcium contents in limestone soils may play a key role in SOM conservation by forming complexation compounds with HAs or/and enclosing SOMs with hypergene CaCO3 precipitation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology
- Humic acid
- Soil organic matter
- Southwest China Karst area