Karlijn Brouns, Jos Verhoeven, Mariet Hefting
Proceedings of the 14th International Peat Congress
decomposition, mineralisation, peat, phenolic-substances, summer-drought
Brouns et al 2012: Decomposition of Peat During Simulated Summer Drought
Theme IV. Chemical, physical and biological characteristics of peat
Drained peat areas are a source of carbon. Dry summers are expected to occur more often due to climate change. During a dry period anaerobic peat is exposed to oxygen. This oxic period could release the ‘enzymic latch’ on decomposition, thereby increasing the carbon flux. In this study, the influence of a dry period of one to eight weeks on decomposition and mineralisation is studied. Carex peat samples showed pyrite oxidation as pH declined and SO4 concentrations rose. Unexpectedly, no changes in soluble and condensed phenols were seen. Thus, no sign of an enzymic latch was discovered in Dutch peat areas.