Canadian Forest Service Publications

The Influence of Condensed Tannin Structure on Rate of Microbial Mineralization and Reactivity to Chemical Assays. 2011. Norris, C.E.; Preston, C.M.; Hogg, K.E.; Titus, B.D. Journal of Chemical Ecology 37(3): 311-319

Year: 2011

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 32299

Language: English

Availability: Not available through the CFS (click for more information).

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1007/s10886-011-9921-8

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We examined how tannin structure influences reactivity in tannin assays and carbon and nitrogen mineralization. Condensed tannins from the foliage of ten tree and shrub species and from pecan shells (Carya illinoensis) had different proportions of: (a) epicatechin (cis) and catechin (trans) isomers, (b) procyanidin (PC) and prodelphinidin (PD) monomers, and (c) different chain lengths. The response of each tannin to several widely used tannin assays was determined. Although there was some variation in response to proanthocyanidin (butanol/HCl) and Folin Ciocalteu assays, we did not deduce any predictable relationship between tannin structure and response to either assay. There was little variation in protein precipitation among the different tannins. To assess biological activity, six of the tannins were incubated with forest humus for 22 days. We determined that, while PC-based tannins remained at least partly extractable for the duration of the incubation, tannins with a high proportion of PD subunits rapidly became unextractable from soil. There was a positive correlation between net nitrogen mineralization and cis chemical structure. Carbon mineralization was enhanced initially by the addition of tannins to humus, but after 22 days, a negative correlation between the proportion of cis subunits and respiration was determined. Overall, we were not able to demonstrate consistent effects of structure on either microbial mineralization or reactivity to chemical assays; such relationships remain elusive.