During the decomposition process of soil organic carbon (SOC), microbial products such as microbial necromass and microbial metabolites may form an important stable carbon (C) pool, called microbially derived C, which has different decomposition patterns from plant-derived C. However, current Earth System Models do not simulate this microbially derived C pool separately. Here, we incorporated the microbial necromass pool to the first-order kinetic model and the Michaelis–Menten model, respectively, and validated model behaviors against previous observation data from the decomposition experiments of 13C-labeled necromass. Our models showed better performance than existing models and the Michaelis–Menten model was better than the first-order kinetic model. Microbial necromass C was estimated to be 10–27% of total SOC in the study soils by our models and therefore should not be ignored. This study provides a novel modification to process-based models for better simulation of soil organic C under the context of global changes.
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The data used can be found in Supplementary Information.
Code used to model runs is available at https://github.com/fanlei21/fanlei21.github.io.
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This study was funded by the National Key R&D Program of China (2019YFA0607301), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41971058), and the National Program for Support of Top-notch Young Professionals (to EB).
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Fan, X., Gao, D., Zhao, C. et al. Improved model simulation of soil carbon cycling by representing the microbially derived organic carbon pool. ISME J 15, 2248–2263 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-021-00914-0