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Effect of peat quality on microbial greenhouse gas formation in an acidic fen

Title data

Reiche, Marco ; Gleixner, Gerd ; Küsel, Kirsten:
Effect of peat quality on microbial greenhouse gas formation in an acidic fen.
In: Biogeosciences. Vol. 7 (2010) Issue 1 . - pp. 187-198.
ISSN 1726-4189

Abstract in another language

Peatlands play an important role in the global carbon cycle and represent both an important stock of soil carbon and a substantial natural source of relevant greenhouse gases like CO2 and CH4. While it is known that the quality of organic matter affects microbial degradation and mineralization processes in peatlands, the manner in which the quality of peat organic matter affects the formation of CO2 and CH4 remains unclear. In this study we developed a fast and simple peat quality index in order to estimate its potential greenhouse gas formation by linking the thermo-degradability of peat with potential anaerobic CO2 and CH4 formation rates. Peat samples were obtained at several depths (0–40 cm) at four sampling locations from an acidic fen (pH 4.7). CO2 and CH4 formation rates were highly spatially variable and depended on depth, sampling location, and the composition of pyrolysable organic matter. Peat samples active in CO2 and CH4 formation had a quality index above 1.35, and the fraction of thermally labile pyrolyzable organic matter (comparable to easily available carbon substrates for microbial activity) obtained by thermogravimetry was above 35%. Curie-point pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry mainly identified carbohydrates and lignin as pyrolysis products in these samples, indicating that undecomposed organic matter was found in this fraction. In contrast, lipids and unspecific pyrolysis products, which indicate recalcitrant and highly decomposed organic matter, correlated significantly with lower CO2 formation and reduced methanogenesis. Our results suggest that undecomposed organic matter is a prerequisite for CH4 and CO2 development in acidic fens. Furthermore, the new peat quality index should aide the estimation of potential greenhouse gas formation resulting from peatland restoration and permafrost thawing and help yield more robust models of trace gas fluxes from peatlands for climate change research.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER73484
Institutions of the University: Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2015 06:59
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2015 06:59