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Soil Syst., Volume 3, Issue 4 (December 2019) – 19 articles

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Open AccessArticle
Soil and Tree Nutrient Status of High Elevation Mixed Red Spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) and Broadleaf Deciduous Forests
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040080 - 11 Dec 2019
Viewed by 268
Abstract
Anthropogenic and industrial emissions have resulted in historically high levels of acidic deposition into central Appalachian forests. Despite the reduction in acidic inputs due to legislation curbing industrial emissions in the United States, continued N deposition may impact forest ecosystems. Soil and foliar [...] Read more.
Anthropogenic and industrial emissions have resulted in historically high levels of acidic deposition into central Appalachian forests. Despite the reduction in acidic inputs due to legislation curbing industrial emissions in the United States, continued N deposition may impact forest ecosystems. Soil and foliar samples were collected from four high elevation red spruce sites along a modeled gradient of historic N deposition. The three most abundant tree species at all sites, Acer rubrum L., Betula alleghaniensis Britt., and Picea rubens Sarg., were sampled. Bulk soil beneath the canopies of individual trees were collected from the top 15-cm and separated into organic and mineral fractions for analysis. Mehlich-III soil extracts of soil fractions and foliar digests from these trees were subjected to elemental analysis. Soil N concentrations supported the presence of a N deposition gradient: in organic horizon soil fractions, N concentrations were driven by precipitation volume and elevation; whereas in mineral soil fractions, N concentration was explained by modeled N deposition rate and elevation. In organic fractions, significant reductions in Ca, K, and P were evident as N deposition increased, whereas the Ca:Sr ratio increased. Foliar Ca, K, and Sr declined in foliage with increasing N deposition, with concomitant increases in foliar Ca:Sr ratios. Although the three species were sympatric in mixed stands at all four sites, the foliar–soil nutrient associations differed among them across the gradient, indicating differential uptake and cycling of nutrients/metals by these forest tree species. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of the Influence of Individual Clay Minerals on Biochar Carbon Mineralization in Soils
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040079 - 03 Dec 2019
Viewed by 384
Abstract
Although association between mineral and biochar carbon have been speculated in some studies, still there is no direct evidence for the influence of individual clay minerals on the mineralization of biochar carbon in soils. To address this, we conducted an incubation study using [...] Read more.
Although association between mineral and biochar carbon have been speculated in some studies, still there is no direct evidence for the influence of individual clay minerals on the mineralization of biochar carbon in soils. To address this, we conducted an incubation study using monomineralic soils constituted by separately mixing pure minerals, i.e., smectite, kaolinite, and goethite, with a sandy soil. Switch grass biochar (400 °C) was added to the artificial soils and samples were incubated for 90 days at 20 °C in the laboratory. The CO2-C mineralized from the control, and biochar amended soil was captured in NaOH traps and the proportion of C mineralized from biochar was determined using δ13C isotopic analysis. The clay minerals significantly decreased the cumulative total carbon mineralized during the incubation period, whereas biochar had no effect on this. The least amount of total C was mineralized in the presence of goethite and biochar amended soil, where only 0.6% of the native soil organic carbon (SOC) (compared to 4.14% in control) and 2.9% of the biochar-C was mineralized during the 90 days incubation period. Native SOC mineralization was significantly reduced in the presence of biochar and the three minerals. Goethite was most effective in stabilizing both biochar and the native soil organic carbon. The short-term data from this study demonstrate that biochar application in Fe oxide rich soils may be an effective strategy to sequester biochar carbon, as well as to stabilize native soil carbon. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Temporal Changes in the Efficiency of Biochar- and Compost-Based Amendments on Copper Immobilization in Vineyard Soils
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040078 - 27 Nov 2019
Viewed by 397
Abstract
Copper (Cu)-based fungicides have been an important tool against disease in viticulture since the 19th century. However, their prolonged use can lead to Cu accumulation in the soil and negatively affect soil microbiology and plant growth. The application of biochar (BC)-based amendments is [...] Read more.
Copper (Cu)-based fungicides have been an important tool against disease in viticulture since the 19th century. However, their prolonged use can lead to Cu accumulation in the soil and negatively affect soil microbiology and plant growth. The application of biochar (BC)-based amendments is a promising mitigation strategy, due to BC’s longevity in the soil and its potential to complex Cu. This study investigated temporal changes in the efficiency of various compost- and BC-based amendments to immobilize Cu in a calcareous and a slightly acidic Austrian vineyard soil. The immobilization of both historically accumulated Cu and freshly spiked Cu (250 mg kg−1) was studied. The soils were treated with six combinations of amendments containing compost and BC, with and without surface modification, as well as an additional lime treatment for the acidic soil. After treatment, the soils were incubated for 6 weeks and 3 years, after which the 0.01 M CaCl2-extractable Cu was measured. The amendments were not effective in reducing the mobility of the historically accumulated Cu in the calcareous soil, with pure compost doubling the soluble Cu. Pure wood-chip BC was the only organic amendment that led to a reduction (by 20%) of soluble Cu after 6 weeks in the acidic soil; however, after 3 years, the same amendment reduced soluble Cu by 40% and all other tested amendments were also effective in reducing the mobility of the historically accumulated Cu. The lime treatment achieved the greatest reduction in Cu mobility (56%). Freshly spiked Cu was strongly immobilized in both unamended soils, with 0.06% and 0.39% extractable after 6 weeks in the calcareous and slightly acidic soil, respectively. The amendments did not effectuate additional Cu immobilization in the calcareous soil, but in the acidic soil, the soluble Cu was further reduced to between 25% and 50% of the unamended control by the tested organic amendments and to 6% by the lime treatment after 6 weeks of incubation. Overall, the acidic soil exhibited a stronger response to the amendments than did the calcareous soil, suggesting the amendments’ effect on the soil pH was an important factor for Cu immobilization in this study. These results show the importance of developing site-specific remediation strategies for Cu accumulation in agricultural soils. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Nitrogen Dynamics in an Established Alfalfa Field under Low Biochar Application Rates
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040077 - 26 Nov 2019
Viewed by 688
Abstract
Sustainable nitrogen (N) management in agroecosystems is crucial for supporting crop production and reducing deleterious N losses. Biochar application with N-fixing legumes offers promise for increasing soil N retention and input. Strategic, low application rates (112 kg ha−1) of pine and [...] Read more.
Sustainable nitrogen (N) management in agroecosystems is crucial for supporting crop production and reducing deleterious N losses. Biochar application with N-fixing legumes offers promise for increasing soil N retention and input. Strategic, low application rates (112 kg ha−1) of pine and coconut feedstock biochars were tested in an established alfalfa (Medicago sativa) field. Soil inorganic N and plant growth, N concentrations, and δ15N were monitored over a growing season to follow mineral N availability, and plant N uptake and sourcing. Microbial and gene abundance and enzyme activity were measured to assess the potential for N cycling processes to occur. Biochar application had minimal effects on measured parameters. However, significant temporal dynamics in N cycling and correlations between alfalfa δ15N and soil N availability indicate differing plant N sourcing over time. Our findings indicate that low application rates of biochar in established alfalfa fields do not significantly affect N cycling, and that managing alfalfa to maximize N fixation, for example by intercropping, may be a better solution to increase N stocks and retention in this system. To determine when biochar can be beneficial for alfalfa N cycling, we need additional research to assess various economically-feasible biochar application rates at different alfalfa growth stages. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Soil Management Practices to Mitigate Nitrous Oxide Emissions and Inform Emission Factors in Arid Irrigated Specialty Crop Systems
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040076 - 24 Nov 2019
Viewed by 465
Abstract
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from arid irrigated agricultural soil in California have been predicted to represent 8% of the state’s total GHG emissions. Although specialty crops compose the majority of the state’s crops in both economic value and land area, the portion of [...] Read more.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from arid irrigated agricultural soil in California have been predicted to represent 8% of the state’s total GHG emissions. Although specialty crops compose the majority of the state’s crops in both economic value and land area, the portion of GHG emissions contributed by them is still highly uncertain. Current and emerging soil management practices affect the mitigation of those emissions. Herein, we review the scientific literature on the impact of soil management practices in California specialty crop systems on GHG nitrous oxide emissions. As such studies from most major specialty crop systems in California are limited, we focus on two annual and two perennial crops with the most data from the state: tomato, lettuce, wine grapes and almond. Nitrous oxide emission factors were developed and compared to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emission factors, and state-wide emissions for these four crops were calculated for specific soil management practices. Dependent on crop systems and specific management practices, the emission factors developed in this study were either higher, lower or comparable to IPCC emission factors. Uncertainties caused by low gas sampling frequency in these studies were identified and discussed. These uncertainties can be remediated by robust and standardized estimates of nitrous oxide emissions from changes in soil management practices in California specialty crop systems. Promising practices to reduce nitrous oxide emissions and meet crop production goals, pertinent gaps in knowledge on this topic and limitations of this approach are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Most Plant Nutrient Elements Are Retained by Biochar in Soil
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040075 - 18 Nov 2019
Viewed by 399
Abstract
Biochar may contain substantial amounts of plant nutrient elements, and at typical rates of application, may supply luxury levels of K, Ca, P, and other plant nutrients. However, little is known of the agronomic effectiveness of these nutrients because they exist in diverse [...] Read more.
Biochar may contain substantial amounts of plant nutrient elements, and at typical rates of application, may supply luxury levels of K, Ca, P, and other plant nutrients. However, little is known of the agronomic effectiveness of these nutrients because they exist in diverse compounds and are located in the microporous matrix of biochar particles. We have identified the compounds and location of nutrient elements in three biochars and observed their release from biochar particles in soil. Much K was quickly released from biochar but little or no Ca, Mg, S, and P were released over eight months, which represents a very different behavior from chemical fertilizers that are mostly water soluble. There is clearly a need to determine the availability to plant nutrients in biochar. Appropriate laboratory methods should be developed for measuring the availability of plant nutrients as standard methods of fertilizer analysis are ineffective. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Governing Constraints of Chromium(VI) Formation from Chromium(III)-Bearing Minerals in Soils and Sediments
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040074 - 13 Nov 2019
Viewed by 456
Abstract
The potential for geogenic Cr(VI) contamination is vast, yet it is difficult to predict susceptible environments as groundwater Cr(VI) concentrations vary significantly, even within a given aquifer, due to physical and hydrologic heterogeneity. The physical structure of soils and sediments exerts a dominant [...] Read more.
The potential for geogenic Cr(VI) contamination is vast, yet it is difficult to predict susceptible environments as groundwater Cr(VI) concentrations vary significantly, even within a given aquifer, due to physical and hydrologic heterogeneity. The physical structure of soils and sediments exerts a dominant control on Cr(VI) production by dictating the separation distance of reactive phases, the diffusion distance from Cr(VI) generation sites to advecting groundwater, and by influencing infiltration rates and porewater velocity. Here, we used a dual-pore domain model to investigate the relative control of these parameters on Cr(VI) production. The reaction distance between Cr(III)-bearing minerals and Mn oxides predominantly controls Cr(VI) export to advecting groundwater, while changes in diffusion distance between sites of Cr(VI) generation and advective flow channels generally have little impact on steady-state Cr(VI) concentrations. Changes in Cr(VI) diffusion distance can, however, increase the time required for groundwater Cr(VI) concentrations to reach a steady-state; thus, under fluctuating hydrologic and biogeochemical conditions, long diffusion distances still have the potential to suppress Cr(VI) supply to advecting water. Furthermore, we show that high porewater flow velocities effectively dilute Cr(VI) diffusing from soil/sediment aggregates, thus minimizing Cr(VI) concentrations relative to lower porewater velocities. The strong control that the physical/hydrologic parameters exert on Cr(VI) production appears to overwhelm the impact of Cr(III)-mineral solubility within soils and sediments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Three-Dimensional Assessment of Soil δ13C in a Subtropical Savanna: Implications for Vegetation Change and Soil Carbon Dynamics
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040073 - 13 Nov 2019
Viewed by 411
Abstract
Tree/shrub encroachment into drylands is a geographically widespread vegetation change that often modifies soil organic carbon (SOC) storage and dynamics, and represents an important yet uncertain aspect of the global carbon (C) cycle. We quantified spatial patterns of soil δ13C to [...] Read more.
Tree/shrub encroachment into drylands is a geographically widespread vegetation change that often modifies soil organic carbon (SOC) storage and dynamics, and represents an important yet uncertain aspect of the global carbon (C) cycle. We quantified spatial patterns of soil δ13C to 1.2 m depth in a subtropical savanna to evaluate the magnitude and timing of woody encroachment, and its impacts on SOC dynamics. Woody encroachment dramatically altered soil δ13C spatial patterns throughout the profile; values were lowest in the interiors of woody patches, increased towards the peripheries of those patches, and reached highest values in the surrounding grasslands. Soil δ13C and 14C revealed this landscape was once dominated by C4 grasses. However, a rapid vegetation change occurred during the past 100–200 years, characterized by (1) the formation and expansion of woody patches across this landscape, and (2) increased C3 forb abundance within remnant grasslands. Tree/shrub encroachment has substantially increased SOC and the proportion of new SOC derived from C3 plants in the SOC pool. These findings support the emerging perspective that vegetation in many dryland ecosystems is undergoing dramatic and rapid increases in SOC storage, with implications for the C cycle at regional and global scales. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Look into the Past: Tracing Ancient Sustainable Manuring Practices by Thorough P Speciation of Northern European Anthrosols
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040072 - 29 Oct 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 537
Abstract
Regionally restricted, hums-rich topsoils in Southwest Norway and the Baltic Sea region of Germany and Denmark were formed by inputs of various amendments (combustion residues and marine biomass) and, therefore, were classified as Anthrosols. For a deeper insight into the ancient management practices, [...] Read more.
Regionally restricted, hums-rich topsoils in Southwest Norway and the Baltic Sea region of Germany and Denmark were formed by inputs of various amendments (combustion residues and marine biomass) and, therefore, were classified as Anthrosols. For a deeper insight into the ancient management practices, we investigated the elemental and P-composition in the upper and underlying horizons from 12 soil profiles in the Jæren region, at the islands of Karmøy and Feøy (Norway), at the island of Fehmarn and the peninsula of Wagrien (Germany), and at the islands of Poel (Germany) and Sjaelland (Denmark). We used aqua regia digestion and the complementary methods of sequential P fractionation, phosphorus K-edge X-ray absorption near edge structure (P-XANES) spectroscopy, and 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (31P-NMR) spectroscopy. Results were compared with the composition of differently amended and/or un-amended soils from other studies. In addition, archaeological literature was used to confirm possible inputs of specific P-containing amendments in ancient agriculture. The P composition from SF of the Anthrosols in Norway (44% NaOH-Pi > 18% NaOH-Po > 14% NaHCO3-Pi, 12% H2SO4-P > 7% NaHCO3-Po > 3% residual-P = 3% resin-P) and complementary archaeological literature provided strong indication for the use of peat, sheep manure, compost, and human excreta. The Anthrosols in the Jæren region have been formed from peat, which had been used as alternative bedding material and had been mixed with sheep and/or cattle manure. The P-composition in the Anthrosols at the island of Fehmarn and at the peninsula of Wagrien (42% H2SO4-P > 25% residual-P > 10% NaOH-Po, 8% NaOH-Pi: > 6% NaHCO3-Pi and NaHCO3-Po, 4% resin-P) resulted from the application of domestic cattle manure. This was strongly supported by archaeological findings of cattle bones in this region, as well as high proportions of Ca-P, as confirmed by P-XANES. The predominance of Po in the Anthrosols at the island of Poel and Sjaelland (31% NaOH-Po > 23% NaHCO3-Po, 21% H2SO4-P > 11% NaOH-Pi > 8% NaHCO3-Pi > 4% residual-P, 3% resin-P, in agreement with results from 31P-NMR) indicated low ancient inputs of various excrement or manure. This was supported by low livestock history at the island of Poel. In conclusion, these agricultural techniques can be considered as sustainable P recycling and soil amendment since they improved soil fertility for many generations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Prediction of Soil Carbon Fractions Using a Field Spectroradiometer Equipped with an Illuminating Contact Probe
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040071 - 28 Oct 2019
Viewed by 361
Abstract
This research compared the accuracy of laboratory reference measurements of soil C and N fractions with soil reflectance spectra acquired using a portable field spectroradiometer with an illuminating contact probe. Soil samples were taken from eight, 1.6 ha watersheds, located in El Reno, [...] Read more.
This research compared the accuracy of laboratory reference measurements of soil C and N fractions with soil reflectance spectra acquired using a portable field spectroradiometer with an illuminating contact probe. Soil samples were taken from eight, 1.6 ha watersheds, located in El Reno, Oklahoma on native warm season grasslands and agronomic managements with landform complexes serving as replicates within and among treatments. Soil samples were taken from 0–30-cm. Measurements included total soil organic carbon (TSOC), total soil nitrogen (TSN), residual C of acid hydrolysis (RCAH), and particulate organic matter C (POMC) and N (POMN). Soil reflectance in the 350 to 2500 nm region was correlated with individual laboratory measurements. Each reference dataset was divided into model development data (70%) and model validation data (30%). Calibrated models were applied to validation datasets. Statistical analysis revealed that prediction efficiencies of soil reflectance models were highly quantitative. Coefficients of determination (R2) were near 1 (≥0.90) and ratios of predicted values to the measured standard deviation (RPD) were >2, indicative of good predictive models. The field spectroradiometer enabled us to parameterize soil spatial variability and soil reflectance measurements, reducing the resources required to acquire edaphic measurements. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Potassium and Metal Release Related to Glaucony Dissolution in Soils
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040070 - 26 Oct 2019
Viewed by 430
Abstract
Plant nutrients such as potassium (K) may be limited in soil systems and additions (i.e., fertilizer) are commonly required. Glaucony is a widely distributed and abundant marine-derived clay mineral present in soils worldwide which may serve as a source of potassium. The South [...] Read more.
Plant nutrients such as potassium (K) may be limited in soil systems and additions (i.e., fertilizer) are commonly required. Glaucony is a widely distributed and abundant marine-derived clay mineral present in soils worldwide which may serve as a source of potassium. The South Island of New Zealand contains numerous deposits of glaucony-rich rocks and related soils providing an opportunity to explore how glaucony might be a beneficial source of potassium. Here, the geochemistry of glaucony and its suitability as a mineral source of soil K from four deposits in New Zealand was examined using spatially resolved chemical analyses and dissolution experiments. Geochemical and morphological analyses revealed that glaucony from all deposits were K-enriched and were of the evolved (6%–8% K2O) to highly evolved type (>8% K2O). Glaucony derived from growth inside pellets contain elevated K and Fe concentrations compared to bioclast-hosted glaucony. Solubility analysis showed that K was released from glaucony at rates higher than any other metal present in the mineral. Additionally, decreasing the pH and introducing an oxidizing agent (i.e., birnessite which is ubiquitous in soil environments) appeared to accelerate K release. Trace metals including Cr, Zn, Cu, and Ni were present in the solid phase analysis; however, further investigation with a focus on Cr revealed that these elements were released into solution at low concentrations and may present a source of soil micronutrients. These results suggest that glaucony may offer a source of slow releasing K into soils, and so could be used as a locally sourced environmentally sustainable K resource for agriculture, whether in New Zealand or worldwide. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Biochar Enhances Nitrous Oxide Reduction in Acidic but Not in Near-Neutral pH Soil
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040069 - 24 Oct 2019
Viewed by 397
Abstract
We quantified nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes and total denitrification (N2O + N2) in an acidic (Ferralsol) and a near-neutral pH soil (Cambisol) to determine whether biochar’s alkalinization effect could be the mechanism inducing potential reductions in N [...] Read more.
We quantified nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes and total denitrification (N2O + N2) in an acidic (Ferralsol) and a near-neutral pH soil (Cambisol) to determine whether biochar’s alkalinization effect could be the mechanism inducing potential reductions in N2O fluxes. In Ferralsol, decreases in N2O emissions and in the N2O to N2O + N2 ratio were observed in both biochar and lime treatments. In Cambisol, neither biochar nor lime decreased N2O emissions, despite significantly increasing soil pH. The abundance and community structure of nosZ gene-bearing microorganisms indicated that gene abundances did not explain biochar effects, but a higher diversity of nosZ gene-bearing microorganisms correlated to lower total denitrification. Overall, our results suggest that biochar’s potential to decrease N2O emissions, through soil alkalinization, may be more effective in acidic soils. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Soil Erosion and Land Degradation
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040068 - 22 Oct 2019
Viewed by 436
Abstract
Land degradation by soil erosion is still one of the most severe environmental issues of our time [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and Land Degradation)
Open AccessArticle
Effects of Cover Cropping on Microbial Communities Associated with Heterodera schachtii and Nematode Virulence
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040067 - 11 Oct 2019
Viewed by 440
Abstract
Nematode-resistant cover crops can suppress populations of plant-parasitic nematodes. Samples of a loamy and a sandy loam soil were collected from two sugar beet fields in Lower Saxonia, northern Germany (“Jeinsen” and “Gross Munzel”) to measure the effects of cover cropping on the [...] Read more.
Nematode-resistant cover crops can suppress populations of plant-parasitic nematodes. Samples of a loamy and a sandy loam soil were collected from two sugar beet fields in Lower Saxonia, northern Germany (“Jeinsen” and “Gross Munzel”) to measure the effects of cover cropping on the population genetic structure and infectivity of Heterodera schachtii as well as the composition of soil microbial communities. These fields allowed for a comparison of cover cropping with Brassica species resistant to Heterodera schachtii to fallow. In a series of radish bioassays with H. schachtii populations from Jeinsen and Gross Munzel, ratios of second-stage juveniles in roots per eggs in soil were higher in soil from under Brassica cropping than from under fallow. In denaturing gradient gelelectrophoresis, profiles of the parasitism gene vap1 differed between Brassica and fallow treatments in both populations. At Gross Munzel, microbes of soils and within nematode cysts differed between Brassica and fallow areas. Specifically, the frequency and occurrence of isolates of Pochonia chlamydosporia and Exophiala salmonis were lower within the cysts from Brassica than from fallow treatments. Overall, cover cropping with resistant Brassica species affected the bacteria and fungi infecting the cysts and subsequently, the infectivity of the H. schachtii population. Cover crop effects on nematode virulence (vap1 gene) and microbial colonization of the cysts could affect long-term nematode population dynamics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nematodes in Soil Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Fast and Simultaneous Determination of Soil Properties Using Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS): A Case Study of Typical Farmland Soils in China
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040066 - 26 Sep 2019
Viewed by 471
Abstract
Accurate management of soil nutrients and fast and simultaneous acquisition of soil properties are crucial in the development of sustainable agriculture. However, the conventional methods of soil analysis are generally labor-intensive, environmentally unfriendly, as well as time- and cost-consuming. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) [...] Read more.
Accurate management of soil nutrients and fast and simultaneous acquisition of soil properties are crucial in the development of sustainable agriculture. However, the conventional methods of soil analysis are generally labor-intensive, environmentally unfriendly, as well as time- and cost-consuming. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is a “superstar” technique that has yielded outstanding results in the elemental analysis of a wide range of materials. However, its application for analysis of farmland soil faces the challenges of matrix effects, lack of large-scale soil samples with distinct origin and nature, and problems with simultaneous determination of multiple soil properties. Therefore, LIBS technique, in combination with partial least squares regression (PLSR), was applied to simultaneously determinate soil pH, cation exchange capacity (CEC), soil organic matter (SOM), total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), total potassium (TK), available phosphorus (AP), and available potassium (AK) in 200 soils from different farmlands in China. The prediction performances of full spectra and characteristic lines were evaluated and compared. Based on full spectra, the estimates of pH, CEC, SOM, TN, and TK achieved excellent prediction abilities with the residual prediction deviation (RPDV) values > 2.0 and the estimate of TP featured good performance with RPDV value of 1.993. However, using characteristic lines only improved the predicted accuracy of SOM, but reduced the prediction accuracies of TN, TP, and TK. In addition, soil AP and AK were predicted poorly with RPDV values of < 1.4 based on both full spectra and characteristic lines. The weak correlations between conventionally analyzed soil AP and AK and soil LIBS spectra are responsible for the poor prediction abilities of AP and AK contents. Findings from this study demonstrated that the LIBS technique combined with multivariate methods is a promising alternative for fast and simultaneous detection of some properties (i.e., pH and CEC) and nutrient contents (i.e., SOM, TN, TP, and TK) in farmland soils because of the extraordinary prediction performances achieved for these attributes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proximal Soil Sensing Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
The Spatial Prediction of Soil Texture Fractions in Arid Regions of Iran
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040065 - 26 Sep 2019
Viewed by 607
Abstract
To predict the soil texture fractions, 115 profiles were identified based on the Latin hypercube sampling technique, the horizons were sampled, and the clay, sand, and silt contents (in percentages) of soil samples were measured. Then equal-area quadratic spline depth functions were used [...] Read more.
To predict the soil texture fractions, 115 profiles were identified based on the Latin hypercube sampling technique, the horizons were sampled, and the clay, sand, and silt contents (in percentages) of soil samples were measured. Then equal-area quadratic spline depth functions were used to derive clay, sand, and silt contents at five standard soil depths (0–5, 5–15, 15–30, 30–60, and 60–100 cm). Auxiliary variables used in this study include the terrain attributes (derived from a digital elevation model), Landsat 8 image data (acquired in 2015), geomorphological map, and spectrometric data (laboratory data). Artificial neural network (ANN), regression tree (RT), and neuro-fuzzy (ANFIS) models were used to make a correlation between soil data (clay, sand, and silt) and auxiliary variables. The results of this study showed that the ANFIS model was more accurate in the prediction of the three parameters of clay, silt, and sand than ANN and RT. Moreover, the ability of ANFIS model to estimate the soil texture fractions in the surface layers was higher than the lower layers. The mean coefficient of determination (R2) values calculated by 10-fold cross validation suggested the higher prediction performance in the upper depth intervals and higher prediction error in the lower depth intervals (e.g., R2 = 0.91, concordance correlation coefficient (CCC) = 0.90, RMSE = 4.00 g kg−1 for sand of 0–5 cm depth, and R2 = 0.68, CCC = 0.60, RMSE = 8.03 g kg−1 for 60–100 cm depth). The results also showed that the most important auxiliary variables are spectrometric data, multi-resolution, valley-bottom flatness index and wetness index. Overall, it is recommended to use ANFIS models for the digital mapping of soil texture fractions in other arid regions of Iran. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Soil Mapping of Soil Functions)
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Open AccessBrief Report
Control of Soil Extracellular Enzyme Activities by Clay Minerals—Perspectives on Microbial Responses
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040064 - 26 Sep 2019
Viewed by 549
Abstract
Knowledge of how interactions of clay minerals and extracellular enzymes (EEs) influence organic matter turnover in soils are still under discussion. We studied the effect of different montmorillonite contents on EE activities, using two experiments—(1) an adsorption experiment with a commercially available enzyme [...] Read more.
Knowledge of how interactions of clay minerals and extracellular enzymes (EEs) influence organic matter turnover in soils are still under discussion. We studied the effect of different montmorillonite contents on EE activities, using two experiments—(1) an adsorption experiment with a commercially available enzyme (α-glucosidase) and (2) an incubation experiment (10 days) where microorganisms were stimulated to produce enzymes through organic carbon (OC) addition (starch and cellulose). Soil mixtures with different montmorillonite contents were created in four levels to a sandy soil: +0% (control), +0.1%, +1%, and +10%. The potential enzyme activity (pEA) of four enzymes, α-glucosidase, β-glucosidase, cellobiohydrolase, and aminopeptidase, involved in the soil carbon and nitrogen cycle were analysed. The adsorption experiment revealed a reduction in the catalytic activity of α-glucosidase by up to 76% with increasing montmorillonite contents. However, the incubation experiment showed an inhibitory effect on pEA only directly after the stimulation of in-situ EE production by OC addition. At later incubation stages, higher pEA was found in soils with higher montmorillonite contents. This mismatch between both experiments, with a transient reduction in catalytic activity for the incubation experiments, points to the continuous production of enzymes by soil microorganisms. It is conceivable that microbial adaptation is characterized by higher investment in EEs production induced by increasing clay contents and a stabilisation of the EEs by clay minerals. Our results point to the need to better understand EE-clay mineral-OC interactions regarding potential microbial adaptations and EE stabilisation with potentially prolonged activities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Changes in Water Infiltration after Simulated Wetting and Drying Periods in two Biochar Amendments
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040063 - 25 Sep 2019
Viewed by 512
Abstract
Biochar impacts soil-water related processes such as infiltration and contributes to the hydrological response of catchments. The aim of this work is to determine the impact of wetting and drying conditions on the infiltration behavior of two biochar amendments and to validate the [...] Read more.
Biochar impacts soil-water related processes such as infiltration and contributes to the hydrological response of catchments. The aim of this work is to determine the impact of wetting and drying conditions on the infiltration behavior of two biochar amendments and to validate the performance of three infiltration models: Kostiakov, Horton, and Philips. Two materials, sand and a sandy loam, were mixed with 0%, 2.5%, and 5% (by dry wt.) mango wood biochar produced at a highest heating rate of 600 °C and with a particle size of <63 μm. A sequence of four wetting and drying cycles were simulated. In each cycle, infiltration was measured. We found that biochar addition decreased infiltration because the formation of narrower pores reduced infiltration capacity. The higher the biochar dosage, the more resilient the treatment became concerning the changes on the water infiltrated. Repetitive wetting and drying cycles resulted in a reconfiguration of structural pores affecting the transport of water and air. The infiltration models of Kostiakov and Horton could predict the infiltration dynamics in the amended materials, although they show some instabilities along the WD cycles. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Review of the Science and Logic Associated with Approach Used in the Universal Soil Loss Equation Family of Models
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(4), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3040062 - 24 Sep 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 592
Abstract
Soil erosion caused by rain is a major factor in degrading agricultural land, and agricultural practices that conserve soil should be used to maintain the long-term sustainability of agricultural land. The Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) was developed in the 1960s and 1970s [...] Read more.
Soil erosion caused by rain is a major factor in degrading agricultural land, and agricultural practices that conserve soil should be used to maintain the long-term sustainability of agricultural land. The Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) was developed in the 1960s and 1970s to predict the long-term average annual soil loss from sheet and rill erosion on field-sized areas as an aid to making management decisions to conserve soil. The USLE uses six factors to take account of the effects of climate, soil, topography, crops, and crop management, and specific actions designed to conserve soil. Although initially developed as an empirical model based on data from more than 10,000 plot years of data collected in plot experiments in the USA, the selection of the independent factors used in the model was made taking account of scientific understanding of the drivers involved in rainfall erosion. In addition, assumptions and approximations were needed to make an operational model that met the needs of the decision makers at that time. Those needs have changed over time, leading to the development of the Revised USLE (RUSLE) and a second version of that, the Revised USLE, Version 2 (RUSLE2). While the original USLE model was not designed to predict short-term variations in erosion well, these developments have involved more use of conceptualization in order to deal with the time-variant impacts of the drivers involved in rainfall erosion. The USLE family of models is based on the concept that the “unit” plot, a bare fallow area 22.1 m long on a 9% slope gradient with cultivation up and down the slope, provides a physical situation where the effect of climate and soil on rainfall erosion can be determined without the need to consider the impact of the four other factors. The science and logic associated with this approach is reviewed. The manner by which the soil erodibility factor is determined from plot data ensures that the long-term average annual soil loss for the unit plot is predicted well, even when the assumption that event soil loss is directly related to the product of event rainfall energy, and the maximum 30-min intensity is not wholly appropriate. RUSLE2 has a capacity to use CLIGEN, the weather generator used in WEPP, and so can predict soil losses based on individual storms in a similar way to WEPP. Including a direct consideration of runoff in determining event erosivity enhances the ability to predict event soil losses when runoff is known or predicted well, but similar to more process-based models, this ability is offset by the difficulty in predicting runoff well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and Land Degradation)
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