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Examination of the Structure of Soil Humic Acids by Pyrolysis – Gas Chromatography

Naturevolume 199pages12131214 (1963) | Download Citation



Zemany1 and Harms2 indicated that, if the conditions of pyrolysis are maintained constant, an organic substance will decompose in a specific manner. They utilized this principle for the identification of complex organic materials by pyrolysis-infra-red, or by pyrolysis-mass spectrometry techniques. A number of workers3–10 have also used pyrolysis-gas chromatography techniques for the identification of polymers and for elucidating the structure of non-volatile organic compounds by their characteristic chromatographic patterns. The work recorded here was designed to determine the suitability of the pyrolysis-gas chromatography technique for the identification of the components of soil organic matter, and to establish the lignin or microbial origin of soil organic matter by a comparative study of the chromatographic patterns.

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    Zemany, P. D., Anal. Chem., 24, 1709 (1952).

  2. 2

    Harms, D. L., Anal. Chem., 25, 1140 (1953).

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    Davison, W. H. T., Slaney, S., and Wragg, A. L., Chem. and Indust., 1356 (1954).

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    Lehrle, R. S., and Robb, J. C., Nature, 183, 1671 (1959).

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    Ettre, K., and Vardi, P. F., Anal. Chem., 34, 752 (1962).

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    Radell, E. A., and Strutz, H. C., Anal. Chem., 31, 1890 (1959).

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    Janak, J., Nature, 185, 684 (1960).

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    Janak, J., Proc. Third Intern. Symp. Gas Chrom., Edinburgh, 387 (Butterworths, 1960).

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    Strassburger, J., Brauer, G. M., Tyron, M., and Forziati, A. F., Anal. Chem., 32, 454 (1960).

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    Lehmann, F. A., and Brauer, G. M., Anal. Chem., 33, 673 (1961).

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    Lynch, D. L., Wright, L. M., and Olney, H. O., Soil Sci., 84, 405 (1957).

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    • B. R. NAGAR

    Present address: Department of Physical Chemistry, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Calcutta


  1. Department of Agronomy and Agricultural Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware

    • B. R. NAGAR


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