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Chapter 8:

8.1

Soil Organic Matter

8.2

Organic Materials:
Biomass (plant roots, organisms) Plant/animal/ Residue (dead but identifiable: twig, branches, log) Particle size > 2 mm

Soil Organic matter (SOM):


* Partly decomposed organic materials included microbes. * Particle size < 2 mm * 0 to 6% (by mass) in A horizons * <1% (by mass) in subsurface horizons

SOM: dark & light


Particle density

SOM

Soil + SOM

8.3
Particle size

Heavy >1.3 g cm-3

50 m

Intermediate

150 m

Light < 1.13 g cm-3

250 m

The Carbon Cycle


Organic matter decays CO2 is one of the immediate products

8.4

Carbon is the common constituents of all OM and is involved in essentially all life processes Transformation of this element is called as

Carbon Cycle ~ Biocycle ~ Cycle of life


That makes possible the continuity of life on the earth !

Photosynthesis

Carbon cycle at plot level


Food

CO2

Soil surface
CO2
Carbonate & bicarbonates

CO2

CO2
Residue Macrofauna

CO2 Nutrient
release

Soil reaction

Nutrient release

Microbia

CO2

CO2
8.5

Leaching

Humus

C cycle at global / lanscape level

8.6

8.7

Litter is worth!, sometimes it does not ! When?

Role of SOM
Physic:
Bind mineral particles into granules Maintain soil water content Chemic: Source of plant nutrients

Maintain Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC)


Detoxify poisonous elements Biologic: Energy Source for soil organisms
8.8

Nutrient Source
Plant Roots

8.9

Litter

Litter (Serasah): Dead leaf (Daun gugur )

Twigs (tangkai daun + ranting)


Branches (cabang)

8.10

Photographer: Mike Chapman

Photographer: Kurniatun Hairiah

Coffee Monoculture, more weeding

Coffee Multistrata ~ thick surface litter layer ~ less weeding

Composition of green plant materials added to soils (Organic materials) 8.11


Dry matter 25% Water 75%

Sugars & starches (1-5 %) Hemicelluloses (10-30 %) Celluloses (20-50 %)

Inorganic elements
Ash 8% H 8% C 44% O2 40%

Fats, waxes, tannins 5%

Protein 10% Carbohydr ates 60%

Lignin 25%

Types of compounds

Elemental composition

CO2
60-80 %

8.12

Organic residues 100 g 38% 38% 10 - 30 %


Complex humic

Biomass Non-humic : (soil polysacharids, organisms) polyuronides, acids etc.

Humus (15-30 %)

Factors affecting soil organic matter


Climatic: Temperature, rainfall
Natural vegetation Soil texture Soil has a high clay and silt content, generally much high in soil organic matter
8.13

Soil drainage poorly drained soils high in soil organic matter


Soil & crop management: tillage, crop rotations etc.

8.14

Forest Soil

Fertile Soil:
High SOM : ~ > 2.5 4.0 % Low Bulk Density: ~ < 1.3 g cm-3 High biota activity

Agicultural soil

Generally dark colored

Decomposition of Organic compounds


An oxidation process

--(C, 4H) + 2 O2
C and H containing compounds

enzymatic Oxidation

CO2 + 2 H2O + energy


8.15

How fast the organic materials decompose?

8.16

Serasah di Hutan Cassava litter Forest litter ~ various quality

Rate of decomposition
& simple protein Crude proteins Hemicelluloses

8.17

Rapid Sugars, starches decomposition

Cellulose
Fats, waxes etc Lignins
Very slow decomposition

Organic Matter breakdown with time


Organism numbers and rate of release of CO2 and H2O

8.18

CO2 & H2O release Synthesis of new compounds


Compounds in orginal tissue New soil humus level

SOIL HUMUS Fresh residues added Time

Old soil humus level

Residues well humified

Humus:
A mixture of complex compounds

8.19

Rather resistant mixture of brown or dark brown amorphous & colloidal organic substances Result from microbial decomposition and synthesis It has chemical & physical properties of great significance to soils and plants

Major Characteristics of Humus


Tiny colloidal humus particles (micelles) are composed of C, H, O. The surface area of humus coloids per unit mass is very high & negatively charge

The maintenance of soil organic matter in mineral soils is the most importance challenge to modern and traditional agriculture alike.

Photographer : Suyanto, ICRAF, Bogor

8.20