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Revisiting chlorophyll extraction methods in biological soil crusts - methodology for determination of chlorophyll a and chlorophyll a + b as compared to previous methods

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Caesar,  Jennifer
Multiphase Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Tamm,  Alexandra
Multiphase Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Ruckteschler,  Nina
Multiphase Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Leifke,  Anna-Lena
Multiphase Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Weber,  Bettina
Multiphase Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Caesar, J., Tamm, A., Ruckteschler, N., Leifke, A.-L., & Weber, B. (2018). Revisiting chlorophyll extraction methods in biological soil crusts - methodology for determination of chlorophyll a and chlorophyll a + b as compared to previous methods. Biogeosciences, 15(5), 1415-1424. doi:10.5194/bg-15-1415-2018.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-04AF-4
Abstract
Chlorophyll concentrations of biological soil crust (biocrust) samples are commonly determined to quantify the relevance of photosynthetically active organisms within these surface soil communities. Whereas chlorophyll extraction methods for freshwater algae and leaf tissues of vascular plants are well established, there is still some uncertainty regarding the optimal extraction method for biocrusts, where organism composition is highly variable and samples comprise major amounts of soil. In this study we analyzed the efficiency of two different chlorophyll extraction solvents, the effect of grinding the soil samples prior to the extraction procedure, and the impact of shaking as an intermediate step during extraction. The analyses were conducted on four different types of biocrusts. Our results show that for all biocrust types chlorophyll contents obtained with ethanol were significantly lower than those obtained using dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) as a solvent. Grinding of biocrust samples prior to analysis caused a highly significant decrease in chlorophyll content for green algal lichen- and cyanolichen-dominated biocrusts, and a tendency towards lower values for moss- and algae-dominated biocrusts. Shaking of the samples after each extraction step had a significant positive effect on the chlorophyll content of green algal lichen- and cyanolichen-dominated biocrusts. Based on our results we confirm a DMSO-based chlorophyll extraction method without grinding pretreatment and suggest the addition of an intermediate shaking step for complete chlorophyll extraction (see Supplement S6 for detailed manual). Determination of a universal chlorophyll extraction method for biocrusts is essential for the inter-comparability of publications conducted across all continents.