Hydrogen dynamics in soil organic matter as determined by 13C and 2H labeling experiments
- 1Aix-Marseille Universite, CNRS, College de France, IRD, INRA, CEREGE UM34, 13545 Aix-en-Provence, France
- 2Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, LSCE/IPSL, UMR 8212 CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris Saclay, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
- 3IFREMER/Centre de Brest, Département REM/EEP/LEP, CS 10070, 29280 Plouzané, France
- 4Andra, Research and Development Division, Parc de la Croix Blanche, 1/7 rue Jean Monnet, 92298 Châtenay-Malabry CEDEX, France
- 5EDF R&D, LNHE, 6 quai Watier, 78400 Chatou, France
Abstract. Understanding hydrogen dynamics in soil organic matter is important to predict the fate of 3H in terrestrial environments. One way to determine hydrogen fate and to point out processes is to examine the isotopic signature of the element in soil. However, the non-exchangeable hydrogen isotopic signal in soil is complex and depends on the fate of organic compounds and microbial biosyntheses that incorporate water-derived hydrogen. To decipher this complex system and to understand the close link between hydrogen and carbon cycles, we followed labeled hydrogen and labeled carbon throughout near-natural soil incubations. We performed incubation experiments with three labeling conditions: 1 – 13C2H double-labeled molecules in the presence of 1H2O; 2 – 13C-labeled molecules in the presence of 2H2O; 3 – no molecule addition in the presence of 2H2O. The preservation of substrate-derived hydrogen after 1 year of incubation (ca. 5 % in most cases) was lower than the preservation of substrate-derived carbon (30 % in average). We highlighted that 70 % of the C–H bonds are broken during the degradation of the molecule, which permits the exchange with water hydrogen. Added molecules are used more for trophic resources. The isotopic composition of the non-exchangeable hydrogen was mainly driven by the incorporation of water hydrogen during microbial biosynthesis. It is linearly correlated with the amount of carbon that is degraded in the soil. The quantitative incorporation of water hydrogen in bulk material and lipids demonstrates that non-exchangeable hydrogen exists in both organic and mineral-bound forms. The proportion of the latter depends on soil type and minerals. This experiment quantified the processes affecting the isotopic composition of non-exchangeable hydrogen, and the results can be used to predict the fate of tritium in the ecosystem or the water deuterium signature in organic matter.