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International Journal of Agronomy
Volume 2012, Article ID 163054, 13 pages
Research Article

Changes in Soluble-N in Forest and Pasture Soils after Repeated Applications of Tannins and Related Phenolic Compounds

1USDA-ARS Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center, 1224 Airport Road, Beaver, WV 25813-9423, USA
2Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Miami University, 160 Hughes Laboratories, 701 East High Street, Oxford, OH 45056, USA

Received 15 September 2011; Accepted 7 December 2011

Academic Editor: Dexter B. Watts

Copyright © 2012 Jonathan J. Halvorson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Tannins (produced by plants) can reduce the solubility of soil-N. However, comparisons of tannins to related non-tannins on different land uses are limited. We extracted soluble-N from forest and pasture soils (0–5 cm) with repeated applications of water (Control) or solutions containing procyanidin from sorghum, catechin, tannic acid, β-1,2,3,4,6-penta-O-galloyl-D-glucose (PGG), gallic acid, or methyl gallate (10 mg g−1 soil). After eight treatments, samples were rinsed with cool water (23°C) and incubated in hot water (16 hrs, 80°C). After each step, the quantity of soluble-N and extraction efficiency compared to the Control was determined. Tannins produced the greatest reductions of soluble-N with stronger effects on pasture soil. Little soluble-N was extracted with cool water but hot water released large amounts in patterns influenced by the previous treatments. The results of this study indicate hydrolyzable tannins like PGG reduce the solubility of labile soil-N more than condensed tannins like sorghum procyanidin (SOR) and suggest tannin effects will vary with land management. Because they rapidly reduce solubility of soil-N and can also affect soil microorganisms, tannins may have a role in managing nitrogen availability and retention in agricultural soils.