Spence A.; Hanson, R. E.; Johnson, T.; Robinson, C.; Annells, R. N.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
(Bio)chemical characteristics of organic matter in a guano concretion of Late Miocene or 1 Pliocene age from Manchester Parish in Jamaica
Analytical Chemistry Insights
Date of Publication
The biogeochemical fate of organic matter (OM) entering soils is an important issue that must be examined to better understand its roles in nitrogen cycling and as a natural modulator of soil-atmospheric carbon fluxes. Despite these critical roles, there are uncertainties in estimating the contribution of this feedback mechanism due in part to a lack of molecular-level information regarding the origin and labile and refractory inventories of OM in soils. In this study, we used a multi-analytical approach to determine molecular-level information for the occurrence and stabilization of OM in a bird guano concretion of the Late Miocene or Pliocene age in Jamaica. We determined the specific organic structures persisting in the concretion and the possible contribution of fossil organic matter to the OM pool in modern environments. Our results indicate that aliphatic species, presumably of a highly polymethylenic nature [(CH2)n], may significantly contribute to the stable soil-C pool. Although not as significant, proteins and carbohydrates were also enriched in the sample, further suggesting that fossil organic matter may contribute to carbon and nitrogen pools in present day soil organic matter.....