The behavior of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in soil is important to many biogeochemical processes. Extraction methods to obtain DOM from the unsaturated zone remain a current focus of research as different methods can influence the type and concentration of DOM obtained. Thus, the present comparison study involves three methods for soil solution sampling to assess their impact on DOM quantity and quality: 1) aqueous soil extracts, 2) solution yielded from laboratory installed suction cup samplers and 3) solutions from field installed suction cup samplers. All samples were analyzed for dissolved organic carbon and total nitrogen concentrations. Moreover, DOM quality was analyzed using fluorescence, UV-Vis and FTIR spectroscopies. Results indicate higher DOC values for laboratory extracted DOM: 20 mg/L for aqueous soil extracts and 31 mg/L for lab installed samplers compared to 12 mg/L for field installed samplers. Large variations in C/N ratios were also observed ranging from 1.5 in laboratory extracted DOM to 11 in field samples. Fluorescence excitation-emission matrices of DOM solutions obtained for the laboratory extraction methods showed higher intensities in regions typical for fulvic and humic acid-like materials relative to those extracted in the field. Similarly, the molar absorptivity calculated from DOC concentration normalization of UV-Vis absorbance of the laboratory-derived solutions was significantly higher as well, indicating greater aromaticity. The observed differences can be attributed to soil disturbance associated with obtaining laboratory derived solution samples. Our results indicate that laboratory extraction methods are not comparable to in-situ field soil solution extraction in terms of DOM.
Dolan, E.M., Perdrial, J.N., Vazquez, A., Hernandez, S., Chorover, J. (2010): Testing the application of Teflon/quartz soil solution samplers for DOM sampling in the Critical Zone: Field and laboratory approaches . AGU Fall Meeting (Poster) Abstract B13D-0510..