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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 2007, Vol.71(3), pp.691-702
    Description: Recent studies indicate that glassiness represents a characteristic feature of soil organic matter (SOM). It is however unknown, to which extent the transitions detected in humic substances and whole soil samples correspond to common models of synthetic polymers providing the theoretical basis for explaining their glass transition characteristics. Physical aging associated with structural relaxation of amorphous substances below their glass temperature is one fundamental basis for the glass transition behavior of synthetic polymers. According to the results of this study, aging processes also occur in SOM. In whole soil samples, this process can be observed by the shift of glass transition-like step transitions to higher temperatures within the time scale of years. Not only the structural relaxation of the macromolecular organic substances, but also interactions with water molecules, which may exhibit both plasticizing and antiplasticizing properties, influence the aging process of SOM. Especially under moistening or drying conditions, a differentiation between the effects of water and of alterations of the SOM structure in the course of time on the rigidity of the macromolecular network is difficult.
    Keywords: Geology
    ISSN: 0016-7037
    E-ISSN: 1872-9533
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 2006, Vol.70(12), pp.2957-2969
    Description: Hydration of organic coatings in soils is expected to affect the sorption of oxyanions onto hydrous Fe and Al oxides. We hypothesized that the hydration of polygalacturonate (PGA) coatings on alumina (Al O ) increases their permeability for phosphate. Pure and PGA-coated alumina were equilibrated in deionized water for 2 and 170 h at pH 5 and 20 °C before studying (i) their porosity with N gas adsorption and H NMR relaxometry, (ii) structural changes of PGA-coatings with differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and (iii) the kinetics of phosphate sorption and PGA desorption in batch experiments. Scanning electron micrographs revealed that PGA molecules formed three-dimensional networks with pores ranging in size from 〈10 to several hundred nanometers. Our NMR results showed that the water content of intraparticle alumina pores decreased upon PGA sorption, indicating a displacement of pore water by PGA. The amount of water in interparticle alumina pores increased strongly after PGA addition, however, and was attributed to water in pores of PGA and/or in pores at the PGA-alumina interface. The flexibility of PGA molecules and the fraction of a PGA gel phase increased within one week of hydration, implying restructuring of PGA. Hydration of PGA coatings increased the amount of phosphate defined as instantaneously sorbed by 84%, showing that restructuring of PGA enhanced the accessibility of phosphate to external alumina surfaces. Despite the fact that the efficacy of phosphate to displace PGA was higher after 170 h than after 2 h, a higher phosphate surface loading was required after 170 h to set off PGA desorption. Our findings imply that the number of PGA chain segments directly attached to the alumina surface decreased with time. We conclude that hydration/dehydration of polymeric surface coatings affects the sorption kinetics of oxyanions, and may thus control the sorption and transport of solutes in soils.
    Keywords: Geology
    ISSN: 0016-7037
    E-ISSN: 1872-9533
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 2009, Vol.73(7), pp.2034-2060
    Description: Organic matter (OM) in mineral–organic associations (MOAs) represents a large fraction of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems which is considered stable against biodegradation. To assess the role of MOAs in carbon cycling, there is a need to better understand (i) the time-dependent biogeochemical evolution of MOAs in soil, (ii) the effect of the mineral composition on the physico-chemical properties of attached OM, and (iii) the resulting consequences for the stabilization of OM. We studied the development of MOAs across a mineralogical soil gradient (0.3–4100 kyr) at the Hawaiian Islands that derived from basaltic tephra under comparable climatic and hydrological regimes. Mineral–organic associations were characterized using biomarker analyses of OM with chemolytic methods (lignin phenols, non-cellulosic carbohydrates) and wet chemical extractions, surface area/porosity measurements (N at 77 K and CO at 273 K), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The results show that in the initial weathering stage (0.3 kyr), MOAs are mainly composed of primary, low-surface area minerals (olivine, pyroxene, feldspar) with small amounts of attached OM and lignin phenols but a large contribution of microbial-derived carbohydrates. As high-surface area, poorly crystalline (PC) minerals increase in abundance during the second weathering stage (20–400 kyr), the content of mineral-associated OM increased sharply, up to 290 mg C/g MOA, with lignin phenols being favored over carbohydrates in the association with minerals. In the third and final weathering stage (1400–4100 kyr), metastable PC phases transformed into well crystalline secondary Fe and Al (hydr)oxides and kaolin minerals that were associated with less OM overall, and depleted in both lignin and carbohydrate as a fraction of total OM. XPS, the N pore volume data and OM–mineral volumetric ratios suggest that, in contrast to the endmember sites where OM accumulated at the surfaces of larger mineral grains, topsoil MOAs of the 20–400-kyr sites are composed of a homogeneous admixture of small-sized PC minerals and OM, which originated from both adsorption and precipitation processes. The chemical composition of OM in surface-horizon MOAs, however, was largely controlled by the uniform source vegetation irrespective of the substrate age whereas in subsoil horizons, aromatic and carboxylic C correlated positively with oxalate-extractable Al and Si and CuCl -extractable Al concentrations representing PC aluminosilicates and Al-organic complexes ( 〉 0.85). Additionally, XPS depth profiles suggest a zonal structure of sorbed OM with aromatic carbons being enriched in the proximity of mineral surfaces and amide carbons (peptides/proteins) being located in outer regions of MOAs. Albeit the mineralogical and compositional changes of OM, the rigidity of mineral-associated OM as analyzed by DSC changed little over time. A significantly reduced side chain mobility of sorbed OM was, however, observed in subsoil MOAs, which likely arose from stronger mineral–organic bindings. In conclusion, our study shows that the properties of soil MOAs change substantially over time with different mineral assemblages favoring the association of different types of OM, which is further accentuated by a vertical gradient of OM composition on mineral surfaces. Factors supporting the stabilization of sorbed OM were (i) the surface area and reactivity of minerals (primary or secondary crystalline minerals versus PC secondary minerals), (ii) the association of OM with micropores of PC minerals (via ‘sterically’ enhanced adsorption), (iii) the effective embedding of OM in ‘well mixed’ arrays with PC minerals and monomeric/polymeric metal species, (iv) the inherent stability of acidic aromatic OM components, and (iv) an impaired segmental mobility of sorbed OM, which might increase its stability against desorption and microbial utilization.
    Keywords: Geology
    ISSN: 0016-7037
    E-ISSN: 1872-9533
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