OPERATING INSTITUTE: BIOEMCO (biogeochemistry and ecology of the earth surface).

MAIN PURPOSE: Soil organic matter turnover, hydrological processes.

LOCALISATION: 48.849225481553134 1.9329643249511719

FACILITIES: The laboratory of Biogeo-chemistry and Ecology of the Earth Surface (BIOEMCO) has an international reputation for the use of isotopic techniques to study soil organic matter turnover as well as hydrological processes. The laboratory is equipped with 8 isotopic ratio mass spectro-meters, (IRMS) which can be used to determine the stable isotope signature of C, N (OM and CO2), O and H (H2O and CO2). For soil organic matter studies, these spectrometers are coupled either to an elemental analyser for bulk analysis or to gas chromatographs, which allow the determi-nation of the isotopic signature of single molecules. This isotopic facility with dif-ferent applications in the field of environ-mental research is unique in Europe, because the isotopic signature of the different compo-nents of the ecosystem (gas, water, plants and soil) may be studied in the same laboratory, where users will be supported by combined expertise of researchers and technicians thereby optimising the application of the isotopic techniques within the framework of the ExpeER project.
Since the beginning of ExpeER, the develop-ment of the use of cutin and suberin as tracers for shoot and root derived carbon in different environments has been pursued. Moreover, a stable isotope measurement technique for sugars isolated from soil has been developed and an additional kinetic isotope effect during the analyses of labelled sugars has been evidenced.
In collaboration with the NanoSIMS facility in Paris and the experimental ExpeER site at Lusignan, the possibility to combine long-term field experiments with labelled material and nanoscale analyses in order to enhance process understanding of organic matter stabilisation in subsoil horizons has been tested.
A correction factor for organic compounds in environmental water samples affecting oxygen and hydrogen isotope measurements by wavelength-scanned cavity ring-down spectroscopy has also been developed.

CONTACT: C. RUMPEL (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

● Mendez-Millan, M., Dignac, M. F., Rumpel, C., Derenne, S., 2011 : Can cutin and suberin biomarkers be used to trace shoot and root derived organic matter? A molecular and isotopic approach. Biogeochemistry, 106:23–38.
● Baumann, K., Dignac, M.F., Bardoux, G., Rumpel, C., 2012: Effect of 13C enrichment and sugar type on analysis of sugars by gas chromatography/combustion/isotope-ratio mass spectrometry. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 26: 1934–1940.
● Hamer, U., Rumpel, C., Dignac, M.F., 2012. Cutin and suberin biomarkers as tracer for the turnover of shoot and root derived organic matter along a chronosequence of Ecuadorian pasture soils. European Journal of Soil Science, 63: 808–819.

TA PROJECTS: C and N dynamics in an amended soil-plant system (AMENISOT)

TA User (visit): Maria Angeles Bustamante Munoz, Department of Agrochemistry and Environment, Miguel Hernandez University, Spain (February / March, 2015 – 15 days)
Project Description: The intensification of the livestock production systems has produced an increase in the production of manures and slurries, which must be properly managed to avoid a potential environmental impact. Composting is not a new technology, but it is being increasingly considered as an alternative to the disposal of this type of waste, obtaining a stabilised and humified material that can be used in agriculture and/or soil restoration. The effects of compost addition to soil are mainly associated to the nature and dynamics of its constituent organic matter. However, it is difficult to quantify the changes in organic matter during composting and the subsequent compost effects on soil organic matter. The natural abundance stable isotope 13C and 15N (or δ13C and δ15N) tracer technique can be used to characterise the dynamics of ‘native’ and ‘new’ soil organic C and N (Lynch et al., 2006). Isotope fractionation during composting may produce organic materials with a more homogenous δ13C and δ15N signature, which can allow the study of their fate in soil (Lynch et al., 2006). However, relatively few studies (Högberg, 1997; Bol et al., 2000, 2004; Glaser et al., 2001) have applied this technique to improve the knowledge about the transformation, utilisation and stabilisation of amendment C and N in soil, while the effect of composting on the δ13C and δ15N signature of manures and waste materials remains unexamined. In addition, as the natural abundance of the stable isotope 15N is considered as an integrator of N cycle processes (Högberg, 1997; Robinson, 2001), it has been applied extensively to provide information on the dynamics of N in soil–plant system (Högberg, 1997). For example, variations in 15N values of leaves or whole parts of plants have often been thought to reflect the sources of N used by plants. Since manure and compost are more enriched in 15N than inorganic fertiliser due to ammonia volatilisation, thereby leaving the residual N enriched in 15N (Kerley and Jarvis, 1996), crop and soil amended with manure or compost may show higher 15N than those treated with inorganic fertiliser (Yoneyama et al., 1990).
Therefore, we aim to evaluate the efficiency of the δ13C and δ15N tracer technique to study the effect of composting on the δ13C and δ15N signature of two livestock derived wastes, as well as the variations in the natural 13C and 15N abundances of soil and rosemary plants after the application of these composts. This research proposal is integrated within a research project to evaluate the efficiency of the use of organic amendments as a method of recovering and protecting Mediterranean areas prone to degradation. The research project was based on the study of the effects of the incorporation into a semiarid soil from central Italy of two composts elaborated using the solid fraction of two digestates (obtained after the anaerobic digestion of cattle and pig slurry, respectively) at different rates (30 t/ha and 60 t/ha), compared with a control treatment (the unamended soil) and a mineral fertilised soil. Additionally, in these soils, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) plants were planted.


ExpeER TA Site: Grignon and Lusignan, France.
TA User (visit): Marco Panettieri, IRNAS-CSIC Spain (June, 2014 - 30 days).
Project Description: Dr. Marco Panettieri, postdoctoral researcher at the “Institute of Natural Resources and agrobiology of Seville (IRNAS-CSIC)” together with Dr. Marie-France Dignac and Dr. Cornelia Rumpel of the “Institute for Ecology and Environmental Sciences of Paris (iEES-Paris)” are willing to establish a collaboration among them to evaluate the feasibility of a project focused on the study of the storage/degradation cycles of soil organic matter using high resolution spectrometric techniques.
The definition of “molecular recalcitrance” has been outdated by recent researches on the role played by organo-mineral interactions and microbial communities in SOM storage. The main goal of this project is to unveil how organic compounds interact with soil matrix promoting their preservation. To reach this objective, soil samples will be collected from the SOERE ACBB site Lusignan, in which a C3 to C4 plants conversion (prairie to maize cropping) has been established, and then analysed by high resolution techniques of spectrometry (GC/MS, GC/C-IRMS, CP MAS and HR MAS 13C NMR) and cutting-edge isolation methods. Samples will be taken from topsoil and subsoil, in order to distinguish from above and belowground biomass, and successively fractionated by sieving into aggregate size fractions, and by density separation into particulate organic matter fractions.
The applicant will travel to the iEES-Paris in three different periods of 10 days. During the first stay, scheduled from the 20th to the 29th of June 2014, Dr. Marco Panettieri will participate in the samples collection and preparation procedures. During the second stay, scheduled from the 10th to the 19th of July 2014, the protocols for the samples fractionation will be implemented into the iEES-Paris. The third stay, scheduled from the 8th to the 17th of September 2014 will be focused on the optimizing of mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance techniques for the analyses of the fractions of the sampled soil. The results will be used for the developing of future research projects.
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