Dissolved organic matter (DOM) and microbial communities are intimately connected yet are often studied independently of one another. During respiration, soil microbes pair the transfer of an electron from carbon to a terminal electron acceptor such as oxygen, thereby transforming the available carbon in the system. Elucidating the dynamic interactions between the two is critical to understanding carbon transformation and the evolution of microbial communities in soil and has implications for interpreting carbon cycling in subsurface environments. Understanding the complexity of DOM and the corresponding microbial metabolic products requires the use of high-resolution analytical techniques. Recently, Wu et. al designed an experiment that utilized soft X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy and Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry in conjunction with advanced microbial analyses to assess the changes in DOM and the microbial community over a 50-day incubation period. This method demonstrates the temporal progression of microbes in DOM and can be applied to other systems to determine the ultimate fate of carbon.