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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  19 Nov 2020

19 Nov 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal SOIL.

Are researchers following best storage practices for measuring soil biochemical properties?

Jennifer M. Rhymes1,2,, Irene Cordero1,, Mathilde Chomel1, Jocelyn M. Lavallee1,3, Angela L. Straathof1,4, Deborah Ashworth1, Holly Langridge1, Marina Semchenko1, Franciska T. de Vries1,5, David Johnson1, and Richard D. Bardgett1 Jennifer M. Rhymes et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Michael Smith Building, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PT, UK
  • 2Environment Centre Wales, Bangor University, Deiniol Road, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, UK
  • 3Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80523, USA
  • 4Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, 1 Stone Road West, Guelph, ON N1G 4Y2, Canada
  • 5Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, PO Box 94240, 1090 GE, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. It is widely accepted that the measurement of organic and inorganic forms of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) in soils should be performed on fresh extracts taken from fresh soil samples. However, this is often not possible, and it is common practice to store samples (soils and/or extracts), despite a lack of guidance on best practice. Here, we demonstrate how differences in soil and/or soil extract storage can compromise sample integrity for the quantification of soil dissolved organic C and N, extractable inorganic nitrogen (NH4+ and NO3), and microbial biomass C and N. We discuss and provide the appropriate tools that will ensure researchers consider best storage practice methods when designing and organising ecological research involving assessments of soil properties related to C and N cycling. We encourage researchers to use standardised methods where possible and to report their storage treatment (i.e. temperature, duration) when publishing findings on aspects of soil and ecosystem functioning. In the absence of published storage recommendations for a given soil type, we encourage researchers to conduct a pilot study and publish their findings.

Jennifer M. Rhymes et al.

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Jennifer M. Rhymes et al.

Jennifer M. Rhymes et al.


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