Mineralogical, Physicochemical, and Microbiological Controls on Soil Organic Matter Stabilization and Turnover

Authored by: Ingrid Kögel-Knabner , Markus Kleber

Handbook of Soil Sciences Resource Management and Environmental Impacts

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  November  2011

Print ISBN: 9781439803073
eBook ISBN: 9781439803080
Adobe ISBN:


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Soil organic matter (SOM) represents the largest terrestrial carbon (C) pool being almost three times that present in plant and animal biomass. SOM is not a uniform substance, but occurs in a myriad of different molecular forms, whose chemical properties and interactions with the abiotic mineral matrix allow them to be placed in conceptual pools. Knowledge of the size and fluxes of C from these SOM pools is indispensable to predict C turnover in soils as a function of environmental changes. The amount of C stored in a soil is determined by a dynamic equilibrium between C inputs from primary biomass production and C outputs mainly by mineralization, but also from leaching and erosion. Understanding the controls on this equilibrium is an important scientific issue for two reasons:

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