Ferrous iron (FeII) oxidation is an important pathway for generating reactive FeIII phases in soils, which can affect organic carbon (OC) persistence/decomposition. We explored how pO2 concentration influences FeII oxidation rates and FeIII mineral composition, and how this impacts the subsequent FeIII reduction and anaerobic OC mineralization following a transition from oxic to anoxic conditions. We conducted batch soil slurry experiments within a humid tropical forest soil amended with isotopically labeled 57FeII. The slurries were oxidized with either 21% or 1% pO2 for 9 days and then incubated for 20 days under anoxic conditions. Exposure to 21% pO2 led to faster FeII oxidation rates and greater partitioning of the amended 57Fe into low-crystallinity FeIII-(oxyhydr)oxides (based on Mössbauer analysis) than exposure to 1% pO2. During the subsequent anoxic period, low-crystallinity FeIII-(oxyhydr)oxides were preferentially reduced relative to more crystalline forms with higher net rates of anoxic FeII and CO2 production—which were well correlated—following exposure to 21% pO2 than to 1% pO2. This study illustrates that in redox-dynamic systems, the magnitude of O2 fluctuations can influence the coupled iron and organic carbon cycling in soils and more broadly, that reaction rates during periods of anoxia depend on the characteristics of prior oxidation events.
Chen, Chunmei, Christof Meile, Jared Wilmoth, Diego Barcellos, and Aaron Thompson (2018): Influence of pO2 on iron redox cycling and anaerobic organic carbon mineralization in a humid tropical forest soil. Environmental Science & Technology 52 (14): 7709-7719. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b01368
This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.