Fe redox cycling plays an important role in organic matter preservation and degradation, and the fate of nutrients and contaminants. Despite its importance, Fe redox cycling in non-flooded upland soils has been underappreciated, although many upland terrestrial ecosystems have episodes of low redox events and an abundance of anoxic microsites. Soil Fe reduction is generally constrained by C availability, the reactivity of Fe(III) oxyhydroxides, and the abundance of Fe reducing bacteria. The goal of this study was to determine the potential for Fe reduction in upland soils under varying land-uses (Hardwood, Pine and Cultivated soils) from Calhoun Critical Zone Observatory. Fresh field soils from multiple depths were incubated in the lab without amendments under anoxic conditions for 3 weeks to determine the native potential for soil Fe reduction and to assess the limiting factors, the soils were amended with factorial mixtures of the following: (1) organic substrates (glucose and alanine); (2) bioavailable Fe (ferrihydrite); and (3) Fe reducing bacteria (Shewanella oneidensis strain MR-1). Results showed that Fe reduction potential generally decreased with soil depth. Fe reduction potential is very minimal below ~1m of soil profile. The availability of Fe(III) minerals did not constrain pine and hardwood soil Fe reduction potential. Fe(III) availability only slightly limited the potential for Fe reduction the cultivated soils, which have the lowest extractable Fe by ascorbate-citrate. Labile C constrained Fe reduction in the hardwood and cultivated soils, but not in the pine soils, which had the highest extractable C by K2SO4. In addition, we found the more energetic C source (glucose) facilitated more Fe reduction in the subsurface soil than did Alanine. Finally, the abundance of Fe-reducing bacteria limited Fe reduction potential in almost all of these soils, particularly the pine soils.
Thompson, Aaron, Chunmei Chen, Nadia Noor, Caitlin Anne Hodges, Diego Barcellos, Daniel deB. Richter (2017): The potential for iron reduction in upland soils in Calhoun Critical Zone Observatory. American Geophysical Union 2017 Fall Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, 11-15 December 2017.
This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.