Analytical Sciences

Abstract − Analytical Sciences, 36(5), 601 (2020).

High-heat Effects on the Physical and Chemical Properties of Soil Organic Matter and Its Water-soluble Components in Japan’s Forests: A Comprehensive Approach Using Multiple Analytical Methods
Kazuto SAZAWA, Tomohiro SUGANO, and Hideki KURAMITZ
Department of Environmental Biology and Chemistry, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, University of Toyama, 3190 Gofuku, Toyama 930-8555, Japan
Wildfires that expose the soil organic layer to high heat levels can alter soil organic matter (SOM), which includes water-soluble organic matter (WSOM) components. Various evaluation methods were used to characterize and quantify the effects of high heat levels on SOM and WSOM, including ion chromatography, thermogravimetry–differential thermal analysis (TG-DTA), colorimetry, elemental analysis, pyrolysis–gas chromatography–mass spectrometry using tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH-py-GC/MS), total organic carbon (TOC) analysis, three-dimensional excitation-emission matrix (3DEEM) spectroscopy, and high-performance size-exclusion chromatography. In this study, we applied each of these evaluation methods using soil samples that were collected from broadleaf, coniferous, and bamboo forests and peatland in Japan and exposed to different initial high heat levels. Based on the TG-DTA results, the remaining mass in select soil samples markedly decreased when reheated to approximately 200°C. Comparatively, the TMAH-py-GC/MS results indicated a drastic change in SOM composition and the production of low molecular organic components (<C10) at this temperature. The TOC analysis results also indicated a significant increase in the proportion of WSOM. Colorimetry and elemental analysis results indicated that the soil color was dependent upon the initial heating temperature and was related to the H/C and O/C atomic ratios. The results of this study can form the basis for future similar studies for accurately characterizing and quantifying the heat effects on soil, and the effects of increasing wildfires due to climate change.