Short- and long-term tannin induced carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics in Corsican pine litter

Klaas G J Nierop*, Jacobus M. Verstraten, Albert Tietema, Joke W. Westerveld, Piet E. Wartenbergh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Pine litter amended with either tannic acid (TA) or condensed tannins (CTs) was studied to assess the effects on C, N and P mineralization in relation to the fate of tannins by incubation experiments during various time intervals. TA induced a rapid short-term effect resulting in high C respiration and net N and P immobilisation. After one week of incubation, TA was decomposed and net C, N and P mineralization and net nitrification resembled that of the control (non-amended litter). CTs exhibited effects on net mineralization on longer terms, i.e. after several weeks of incubation until the end of the experiment (84 days). While net N and P mineralization were greatly reduced, net nitrification was only slightly affected. Most likely CTs formed complexes with organic N of the substrate thereby reducing net N mineralization, while such complexes were not involved in net nitrification processes. The reduction of net P mineralization is due to the lack of need for P by microbes when they cannot get access to N. The fact that decreasing amounts of extractable CTs were accompanied by increasing effects on mineralization processes with incubation time strongly suggests that CTs were incorporated into the litter in such a way that they were inextricable by the common solvents needed to measure tannins, such as for the Folin-Ciocalteu and HCl-butanol assays.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-296
Number of pages22
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006


  • Carbon respiration
  • Condensed tannin
  • Nitrogen mineralization
  • Phosphorus mineralization
  • Tannic acid


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