Skip to Main Content
Use of pyrolysis molecular beam mass spectrometry (py-MBMS) to characterize forest soil carbon: method and preliminary resultsAuthor(s): K.A. Magrini; R.J. Evans; C.M. Hoover; C.C. Elam; M.F. Davis
Source: Environmental Pollution. 116: S255-S268.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (454.96 KB)
DescriptionThe components of soil organic matter (SOM) and their degradation dynamics in forest soils are difficult to study and thus poorly understood,due to time-consuming sample collection, preparation, and difficulty of analyzing and identifying major components. As a result, changes in soil organic matter chemical composition as a function of age, forest type, or disturbance have not been examined. We applied pyrolysis molecular beam mass spectrometry (py-MBMS), which provides rapid characterization of SOM of whole soil samples, to the Tionesta soil samples described by Hoover, C.M., Magrini, K.A., Evans, R.J., 2002. Soil carbon content and character in an old growth forest in northwestern Pennsylvania: a case study introducing molecular beam mass spectrometry (PY-MBMS). Environmental Pollution 116 (Supp.1), S269-S278. Our goals in this work were to: (1) develop and demonstrate an advanced, rapid analytical method for characterizing SOM components in whole soils, and (2) provide data-based models to predict soil carbon content and residence time from py-MBMS analysis. Using py-MBMS and pattern recognition techniques we were able to statistically distinguish among four Tionesta sites and show an increase in pyrolysis products of more highly decomposed plant materials at increasing sample depth. For example, all four sites showed increasing amounts of older carbon (phenolic and aromatic species) at deeper depths and higher amounts of more recent carbon (carbohydrates and lignin products) at shallower depths. These results indicate that this type of analysis could be used to rapidly characterize SOM for the purpose of developing a model, which could be used in monitoring the effect of forest management practices on carbon uptake and storage.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, firstname.lastname@example.org if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationMagrini, K.A.; Evans, R.J.; Hoover, C.M.; Elam, C.C.; Davis, M.F. 2002. Use of pyrolysis molecular beam mass spectrometry (py-MBMS) to characterize forest soil carbon: method and preliminary results. Environmental Pollution. 116: S255-S268.
Keywordspyrolysis mass spectroscopy, soil organic carbon, forest soils, rapid soil analysis, disturbance
- Soil carbon content and character in an old-growth forest in northwestern Pennsylvania: a case study introducing pyrolysis molecular beam mass spectrometry (py-MBMS)
- 14C mean residence time and its relationship with thermal stability and molecular composition of soil organic matter: A case study of deciduous and coniferous forest types
- The influence of fire on the radiocarbon signature and character of soil organic matter in the Siskiyou national forest, Oregon, USA
XML: View XML