Characterization of Humic Acids in Mountainous Meadow Soils and Burozems of the Crimea Using 13 C-NMR

I. V. Kostenko, E. V. Abakumov

Research output

2 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract—: A comparative analysis of organic matter in the mountainous soils under the main plant communities of the Crimea was performed. The humus state of burozems and mountainous meadow soils under natural meadow vegetation and planted forests was studied using traditional methods and 13 C-NMR spectroscopy for the determination of the contents of total organic carbon, carbon of humic acids and optical density of humic acid solutions. The highest humus content in the A horizon was found in the dark burozem under the beech–hornbeam forest on the Chatyr-Dag Plateau. The meadow soils of the Ai-Petri Plateau were significantly inferior in terms of humus content than the dark burozem and meadow soils of other Crimean plateaus due to the intensive anthropogenic impact on these lands until the 1970s. The lowest humus content was found in the meadow soils of the forested Ai-Petri areas because of the strong degradation of the grass cover after planting trees. The investigation of humic acids using the 13 C-NMR method showed that humic acids of Crimean mountainous soils were characterized by the elevated hydrogen content, which well agreed with the content of alkyl fragments. The structural molecular composition of humic acids was dominated by aliphatic components, aromatic components being weakly expressed. At the same time, the aromaticity was somewhat higher in the cases when the soil was formed in the meadow ecosystem; it was lower in the upper soil horizons of the forest ecosystems. The degree of aromaticity of humic acids is intermediate between that of podzolic and chernozem soils, which is typical for soils of semihumid regions. The substitution of herbaceous vegetation in the course of natural overgrowing or afforestation of areas with meadow soils has led to an increase in their acidity, but it had no noticeable effect on the elemental and structural composition of humic acids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1411-1418
Number of pages8
JournalEurasian Soil Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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