Model organic compounds differ in priming effects on alkalinity release in soils through carbon and nitrogen mineralisation Academic Article uri icon


  • The influence of organic matter and its cycling on soil pH change is still unclear. This study investigated the effect of organic compounds on carbon and nitrogen dynamics and their relationship with pH changes in two soils differing in initial soil pH (Podosol of pH 4.5 and Tenosol of pH 6.2). Seven organic compounds representing common compounds in decomposing plant residues or root exudates were added to the soils and incubated for 60 d. The largest cumulative soil respiration occurred when glucose, malic acid and citric acid were added. In addition, the Tenosol had the greater respiration compared to the Podosol. The addition of organic acids (acetic, malic, citric, ferulic and benzoic acid) instantly decreased soil pH due to the dissociation of H+ from the acids. The pH of both soils was then restored over time, which was positively correlated with decomposition % of these compounds. The pH of the Tenosol amended with all the organic acids and of the Podosol with malic acid exceeded that of the control, and netĀ alkalization occurred, with the degree of alkalization being greater with malic and citric acid. Adding organic acids to the Tenosol generally increased NH4 concentrations but decreased NO3 concentrations. The addition of glucose decreased pH in Podosol but slightly increased it in the Tenosol. The addition of glucosamine hydrochloride decreased pH due to significant nitrification. The results suggest that the addition of organic acids stimulates microbial NO3 uptake, and ammonification and decomposition of indigenous soil organic matter, resulting in a priming effect on alkalinity release, and that the degree of the priming effect is influenced by the type of organic acid and initial soil pH.


  • Rukshana, F
  • Butterly, CR
  • Baldock, JA
  • Xu, JM
  • Tang, C

publication date

  • August 2012