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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 514183, 7 pages
Research Article

Short-Term Effects of Tillage Practices on Soil Organic Carbon Turnover Assessed by δ13C Abundance in Particle-Size Fractions of Black Soils from Northeast China

1Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China
2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Received 3 April 2014; Revised 25 June 2014; Accepted 18 July 2014; Published 5 August 2014

Academic Editor: Antonio Paz González

Copyright © 2014 Aizhen Liang 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.


The combination of isotope trace technique and SOC fractionation allows a better understanding of SOC dynamics. A five-year tillage experiment consisting of no-tillage (NT) and mouldboard plough (MP) was used to study the changes in particle-size SOC fractions and corresponding δ13C natural abundance to assess SOC turnover in the 0–20 cm layer of black soils under tillage practices. Compared to the initial level, total SOC tended to be stratified but showed a slight increase in the entire plough layer under short-term NT. MP had no significant impacts on SOC at any depth. Because of significant increases in coarse particulate organic carbon (POC) and decreases in fine POC, total POC did not remarkably decrease under NT and MP. A distinct increase in silt plus clay OC occurred in NT plots, but not in MP plots. However, the δ13C abundances of both coarse and fine POC increased, while those of silt plus clay OC remained almost the same under NT. The C derived from C3 plants was mainly associated with fine particles and much less with coarse particles. These results suggested that short-term NT and MP preferentially enhanced the turnover of POC, which was considerably faster than that of silt plus clay OC.