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Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences








Pyrogenic dissolved organic matter (pyDOM) is known to be an important biogeochemical constituent of aquatic ecosystems and the carbon cycle. While recent studies have examined how pyDOM production, composition, and photolability varies with parent pyrogenic solid material type, we lack an understanding of potential microbial mineralization and transformation of pyDOM in the biogeosphere. Thus, leachates of oak, charred at 400 °C and 650 °C, as well as their photodegraded counterparts were incubated with a soil‐extracted microbial consortium over 96 days. During the incubation, significantly more carbon was biomineralized from the lower versus higher temperature char leachate (45% vs. 37% lost, respectively). Further, the photodegraded leachates were biomineralized to significantly greater extents than their fresh non‐photodegraded counterparts. Kinetic modeling identified the mineralizable pyDOC fractions to have half‐lives of 9–13 days. Proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy indicated that the majority of this loss could be attributed to low molecular weight constituents of pyDOM (i.e., simple alcohols and acids). Further, the quantification of benzenepolycarboxylic acid (BPCA) molecular markers indicated that condensed aromatic compounds in pyDOM were biomineralized to much lesser extents (4.4% and 10.1% decrease in yields of ΣBPCA‐C over 66 days from 400 °C and 650 °C oak pyDOM, respectively), but most of this loss could be attributed to the biomineralization of smaller condensed clusters (four aromatic rings or less). These results highlight the contrasting bioavailability of different portions of pyDOM, and the need to examine both to evaluate its role in soil or aquatic heterotrophy and its environmental fate in the hydrogeosphere.


An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright 2021 American Geophysical Union.

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Original Publication Citation

Bostick, K. W., Zimmerman, A. R., Goranov, A. I., Mitra, S., Hatcher, P. G., & Wozniak, A. S. (2021). Biolability of fresh and photodegraded pyrogenic dissolved organic matter from laboratory‐prepared chars. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 126(5), 1-17, Article e2020JG005981.