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Keywords:

  • 13C and 15N nuclear magnetic resonance analysis;
  • hydrofluoric acid pretreatment;
  • land-use change;
  • soil organic matter quality

Abstract

Land-use change affects not only the amount of soil organic matter (SOM) but also its composition. We performed cross-polarization magic angle spinning (CPMAS) 13C and 15N nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to investigate the chemical composition of bulk SOM in topsoils (0–15 cm) under different land use, namely native forest (NF), 27-year cropland with wheat/soybean rotation (CL) and 27-year rangelands with guineagrass (RG) and with bahiagrass (RB), in south-east Bolivia. The findings of this study showed only a subtle alteration of composition of bulk SOM despite the large changes in carbon (C) content. Nevertheless, NF and RB showed a slightly lower abundance of aromatic C but a higher proportion of alkyl C compared to CL and RG where the loss of organic matter was substantial. This suggests that relatively stable components dominated by aromatic structures had relatively enriched during SOM decomposition under agricultural practices. A slight disparity of SOM composition observed between RG and RB (less O-alkyl C but more aromatic C in RG than RB) suggests that grass species influenced SOM quality even under the same land use, namely the rangeland. On the other hand, organic N composition was less affected by land use or management practice than C forms.