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

DOI: 10.1155/2012/163054

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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. 1. Introduction Tannins are reactive secondary metabolites produced by plants that affect important biological, chemical, and physical processes in soil and couple primary productivity to biogeochemical cycles [1–4]. Tannin effects on decomposition and nitrogen availability in soil have been a subject of research for more than fifty years [5, 6]. However, development of strategies for use of tannins as soil management tools has lagged, in part because few studies have specifically related them to improving plant productivity or soil fertility. Early tannin research was conducted on temperate agricultural soils [7–9], while recent work has concentrated more on their role in forest ecosystems [10–12] and tropical soils [13–15]. These studies, however, have tended to emphasize the impacts of tannins on microbially mediated processes rather than on the more immediate abiotic interactions between tannins and soil and have made little attempt to frame their findings into the context of landscape effects. Tannins are believed to affect the nitrogen cycle through several direct and indirect mechanisms that reduce rates of net mineralization or nitrification. Some tannins are directly toxic to plants or microorganisms [16, 17] but their effects vary with particular tannin chemistry or among taxonomic

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