Liming effects on the chemical composition of the organic surface layer of a mature Norway spruce stand (Picea abies [L.] Karst.)

W. Rosenberg, K.G.J. Nierop, H. Knicker, P.A. de Jager, K. Kreutzer, T. Weiá

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The application of lime in a mature Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.) forest in southern Germany induced major changes in the activity of soil organisms and root growth. Since this may influence the chemical compostion of the soil organic matter (SOM) of the organic surface layer, its composition and changes due to the treatment were examined in this study. Fine roots of Norway spruce have a relatively low content of extractable lipids, a low alkyl C content (C-13 CPMAS NMR) and a high ratio of non-cellulosic to cellulosic carbohydrates (NC/CC, carbohydrate determination by MBTH and gas chromatography analyses) as compared to needles. Furthermore, they show high ratios of suberin/cutin compounds (thermally assisted hydrolysis and methylation, (THM)) and high ratios of eicosanic acid/phytadiene I in their lipid extracts (pyrolysis-GC/MS). Liming (4 t ha(-1) dolomite) of a Norway spruce organic surface layer decreased the proportion of alkyl C, the alkyl C/O-alkyl C ratio, and the content of extractable lipids. The NC/CC ratio and the abundance of suberin relative to cutin components increased. The contribution of the chlorophyll component phytadiene I decreased in relation to eicosanic acid. These changes are attributed to increased fine root formation in the organic layer after liming. Furthermore, the presence of less degraded lignin (THM, peak ratio of 3,4-dimethoxybenzoic acid, methyl ester/3,4-dimethoxy-benzaldehyde) on the limed plot is explained by the increased input of relatively fresh fine root material. On the other hand, the decrease in the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio may be attributed to the higher microbial activity after liming. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-165
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • tetramethylammonium hydroxide tmah
  • acid forest soils
  • microbial biomass
  • vegetation succession
  • matter
  • nitrogen
  • pyrolysis
  • origin
  • carbon
  • nmr


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