Yan, Y., He, H., Zhang, X., Chen, Y., Xie, H., Bai, Z., Zhu, P., Ren, J. and Wang, L. 2012. Long-term fertilization effects on carbon and nitrogen in particle-size fractions of a Chinese Mollisol. Can. J. Soil Sci. 92: 509-519. The response of soil organic matter (SOM) dynamics to long-term fertilization may be deduced from changes in the accumulation and distribution of different soil organic carbon (SOC) and nitrogen (N) pools. The SOC and N in particle-size fractions were therefore measured to assess the influences of pig manure and synthetic fertilizer application on the characteristics of these pools. A long-term fertilization experiment, established in 1979 in the Mollisol area (Gongzhuling, China) was used for this study. Composite soil samples (0-20cm) were collected in 2005 from 12 treatment plots that had received annual applications of pig manure, synthetic fertilizers or combinations of both. Soils were fractionated into fine clay (<0.2 µm), coarse clay (0.2-2 µm), silt (2-50 µm), fine sand (50-250 µm) and coarse sand (250-2000 µm) and then SOC and N contents in each particle-size fraction were measured. Although most of the SOC and N were associated with clay and silt fractions, the large proportion of silt in the soil mass played a key role in the retention of SOC and N. The application of pig manure alone increased accumulation of SOC and N in each particle-size fraction, but preferential enrichment was found in the coarse sand fraction. This indicates that pig manure is efficient in restoring SOM in the temperate Chinese Mollisol under a tilled maize (Zea mays L.) monocropping system and having a long frozen period in winter. The application of synthetic fertilizers had no clear effect on SOC and N accumulation or their distribution in particle-size fractions. However, the combined application of pig manure and synthetic fertilizers enhanced the accumulation of SOC and N in all particle-size fractions, and led to a shift of SOC and N from fine to coarse particles. We extended the hierarchy model for SOC protection to consider a shift in SOC accumulation from fine to coarse particles, depending on the initial SOC content of the specific soil. The findings reveal a clear positive interaction between pig manure and synthetic fertilizers that may improve the quantity of SOM in the temperate Chinese Mollisol.
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Vol. 92 • No. 3