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Soil organic matter (SOM) characterization by Rock-Eval pyrolysis : scope and limitations

Abstract : Application of Rock-Eval pyrolysis to soil organic matter (SOM) quantitation and characterization has been explored by the study of about 100 soil samples taken from a variety of soil profiles from different ecosystems at different latitudes. A straightforward illustration of these possibilities can be obtained from a Hydrogen Index (HI in mg hydrocarbons g−1 TOC) vs. Total Organic Carbon (TOC) diagram that effectively allows one to follow simultaneously the main qualitative (SOM hydrogen richness given by HI values) and quantitative (TOC) changes that affect SOM with increasing depth and humification, in the soil profiles. In addition, abnormally high Oxygen Index (OI in mg CO, CO2 or O2 g−1 TOC) values are fully diagnostic of extensive SOM alteration, as frequently observed in podzol B horizons. More detailed information on the heterogeneity of SOM and on its degree of evolution, can be gained from the shape of the pyrolysis S2 peak recorded in the course of programmed pyrolysis in an inert atmosphere (N2) and/or from its maximum temperature "Tpeak". All these parameters and others, all determined rapidly and automatically, are particularly useful to screen major SOM variations within large sets of samples
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Jean-Robert Disnar, Bernard Guillet, Didier Kéravis, Christian Di Giovanni, David Sebag. Soil organic matter (SOM) characterization by Rock-Eval pyrolysis : scope and limitations. Organic Geochemistry, Elsevier, 2003, 34, pp.327-343. ⟨10.1016/S0146-6380(02)00239-5⟩. ⟨hal-00069394⟩

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