Soil aggregation and soil organic matter in conventionally and organically farmed Austrian Chernozems

Taru Sandén*, Georg J. Lair, Jeroen P. Van Leeuwen, Guorún Gísladóttir, Jaap Bloem, Kristín Vala Ragnarsdóttir, Markus Steffens, Winfried E.H. Blum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In order to study the soil aggregate distributions and soil organic matter (SOM), we sampled top- and subsoils in four intensively farmed croplands (two organic (Org-OB and Org-LA), and two conventional (Con-OB and Con-LA)) on Haplic Chernozems located in Marchfeld in the east of Vienna (Austria). Soil structure and SOM quantity, quality and distribution between free and occluded particulate organic matter and aggregate size fractions (<20 μm, 20-250 μm, 250-5000 μm) were studied by following a density fractionation procedure with low-energy ultrasound treatment. Te relation of the soil physicochemical (e.g., particle size distribution, pH, organic carbon, total nitrogen) and biological properties (e.g., fungal biomass, active fungi) with stable soil aggregate size fractions and SOM was studied. Te mean weight diameter (MWD) showed no significant difference between all studied sites and was between 3.8 mm and 10.0 mm in topsoils and between 6.7 mm and 11.9 mm in subsoils. In topsoils, the contents of calcium-acetate-lactate (CAL)-extractable P, active fungal biomass, dithionite-extractable Fe and sand were significantly positively correlated with the amount of the macroaggregates and with the MWD. We observed that most soil organic carbon, depending on soil texture, was stored in the microaggregate size classes <20 μm and 20-250 μm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-55
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Aggregate hierarchy
  • Aggregate stability
  • Organic matter dynamics
  • Particulate organic matter (POM)
  • Solid-state 13C NMR spectroscopy

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