HR Excellence in Science
Date: 15.02.2023

Article by Gerrit Angst received great acclaim in the prestigious journal

A review article originating from international cooperation under the lead of Dr. Gerrit Angst from the Biology Centre CAS has become the most cited article in the past three years in Soil Biology and Biochemistry, the most prestigious journal in the field of soil science. The review compiles data on the origins of stabilized soil carbon, which can persist in soil for centuries to millennia and has received high attention in the context of establishing soils as carbon sinks to help mitigate climate change.

Current concepts regard microbial remains as the main contributor to stabilized carbon. However, Angst et al. show that the contribution of microbial remains does not exceed 50% across ecosystems and is highly variable based on environmental factors, such as land use/cover, soil type, or soil depth. These findings indicate that focus on microbial remains neglects 50% and more of the carbon stored in soil, suggesting that carbon-focused soil management strategies have to be more holistic and embrace the various origins of carbon pools in soil (microbial- and plant-derived) and the environmental conditions that affect their formation.

The paper by Angst et al. adds important nuance to the debate about the precursors of stabilized soil carbon and has thus been well-received in the scientific community.


Gerrit Angst, Kevin E. Mueller, Klaas G.J. Nierop, Myrna J. Simpson (2021) Plant- or microbial-derived? A review on the molecular composition of stabilized soil organic matter Soil Biology and Biochemistry 156: 108189




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