Soil Organic Matter Characterization Using S3 and S4 Signals from Rock-Eval Pyrolysis

M. Hetényi, T. Nyilas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Variations in the abundance of soil organic matter (SOM) constituents with different stability have a major impact on important environmental processes, e.g., carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes between the soil and the atmosphere. Recently, besides the bulk Rock-Eval (RE) data, the mathematical deconvolution of the signals derived from hydrocarbon-like compounds released by thermal cracking of SOM during RE pyrolysis has been increasingly used to estimate the relative contribution of the major SOM classes differing in origin and preservation. This study applied the mathematical deconvolution of the S3 and S4 signals of carbon monoxide (CO) and CO2, produced both by the pyrolysis of the oxygen-containing moieties and by the oxidation of the residual highly resistant organic matter, to characterize the stability of these components. Our results suggested that the stability of the oxygen-containing moieties was controlled by the precursor material and was strongly affected by the land use and the presence of humic substances in the surface horizon of some main soil types in Hungary. In consistence with the bulk RE data, results of the mathematical deconvolution also proved to be diagnostic markers for discriminating the aquatic or terrigenous plants as the main sources of SOM. The mathematical deconvolution of S4 signals derived from the highly resistant SOM fraction allowed us to quantify the contribution of constituents with different stability. Furthermore, the results of this study displayed that the stability of this highly abundant SOM fraction in the surface soil samples depended on source biomass and intensity of leaching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-574
Number of pages12
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


  • Biomass
  • Leaching
  • Mathematical deconvolution
  • Oxygen-containing moieties
  • SOM sources
  • SOM stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Soil Organic Matter Characterization Using S3 and S4 Signals from Rock-Eval Pyrolysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this