Carbon sequestration in paddy soils: Contribution and mechanisms of mineral-associated SOC formation

Cuiyun Niu, Liping Weng*, Wanli Lian, Ran Zhang, Jie Ma, Yali Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this work, comparative study of paddy and upland soils were carried out to unravel mechanisms of enhanced soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration in paddy soils using fractionation methods, 13C NMR and Nano-SIMS analysis, as well as organic layer thickness calculations (Core-Shell model). The results showed that although there is a strong increase in particulate SOC in paddy soils compared to that in the upland soils, the increase in mineral-associated SOC is more important, explaining 60–75% of SOC increase in the paddy soils. In the wet and dry alternate cycles of paddy soil, iron (hydr)oxides adsorb relatively small and soluble organic molecules (fulvic acid-like), promote catalytic oxidation and polymerization, thus accelerating formation of larger organic molecules. Upon reductive iron dissolution, these molecules are released and incorporated into existing less soluble organic compounds (humic acid or humin-like), which are coagulated and associated with clay minerals, becoming part of the mineral-associated SOC. The functioning of this “iron wheel” process stimulates accumulation of relatively young SOC into mineral-associated organic carbon pool, and reduces the difference in chemical structure between oxides-bound and clay-bound SOC. Further, the faster turnover of oxides and soil aggregates in paddy soil also facilities interaction between SOC and minerals. The formation of mineral-associated SOC may delay degradation of organic matter during both wet and dry period in the paddy field, therefore enhancing carbon sequestration in paddy soils.

Original languageEnglish
Article number138927
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Carbon sequestration
  • Core-Shell model
  • Fractionation of SOC
  • Humic acid and humin
  • Metal (hydr)oxides
  • Mineral-associated SOC


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