Next Issue
Volume 4, September
Previous Issue
Volume 4, March

Soil Syst., Volume 4, Issue 2 (June 2020) – 20 articles

  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
Article
A Comparison among Synthetic Layered Double Hydroxides (LDHs) as Effective Adsorbents of Inorganic Arsenic from Contaminated Soil–Water Systems
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020037 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1055
Abstract
The need for cost-effective adsorbents of inorganic arsenic (As(III) and As(V)) stimulates the academia to synthesize and test novel materials that can be profitably applied at large-scale in most affected areas worldwide. In this study, four different layered double hydroxides (Cu-Al-, Mg-Al-, Mg-Fe- [...] Read more.
The need for cost-effective adsorbents of inorganic arsenic (As(III) and As(V)) stimulates the academia to synthesize and test novel materials that can be profitably applied at large-scale in most affected areas worldwide. In this study, four different layered double hydroxides (Cu-Al-, Mg-Al-, Mg-Fe- and Zn-Al-LDH), previously synthesized and studied for As(III) removal capacity, were evaluated as potential adsorbents of As(V) from contaminated systems, in absence or presence of common inorganic anions (Cl, F, SO42−, HCO3 and H2PO4). The As(V) desorption by H2PO4 was also assessed. Lastly, the As(V) adsorption capacities of the four layered double hydroxides (LDHs) were compared with those observed with As(III) in a complementary paper. All the LDHs adsorbed higher amounts of As(V) than As(III). Fe-Mg-LDH and Cu-Al-LDH showed higher adsorption capacities in comparison to Mg-Al-LDH and Zn-Al-LDH. The presence of competing anions inhibited the adsorption of two toxic anions according to the sequence: Cl < F < SO42− < HCO3 < < H2PO4, in particular on Mg-Al-LDH and Zn-Al-LDH. The kinetics of As(V) desorption by H2PO4 indicated a higher occurrence of more easily desorbable As(V) on Zn-Al-LDH vs. Cu-Al-LDH. In conclusion, synthetic Cu- and Fe-based LDHs can be good candidates for an efficient removal of inorganic As, however, further studies are necessary to prove their real feasibility and safety. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Novel Application of Hybrid Anion Exchange Resin for Phosphate Desorption Kinetics in Soils: Minimizing Re-Adsorption of Desorbed Ions
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020036 - 17 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1109
Abstract
The process of phosphate desorption from soils is difficult to measure using stirred batch techniques because of the accumulation of desorbed ions in a bathing solution. To accurately measure the apparent rate coefficient of phosphate desorption from soils, it is necessary to remove [...] Read more.
The process of phosphate desorption from soils is difficult to measure using stirred batch techniques because of the accumulation of desorbed ions in a bathing solution. To accurately measure the apparent rate coefficient of phosphate desorption from soils, it is necessary to remove the desorbed ions. In this study, a novel hybrid (i.e., iron oxide coated) anion exchange resin was used as a sink to study long-term (seven days) P desorption kinetics in intensively managed agricultural soils in the Midwestern U.S. (total phosphorus (TP): 196–419 mg/kg). The phosphate desorption kinetics in the hybrid anion exchange resin method were compared with those in the other conventional batch desorption method with pure anion exchange resins or without any sink. The extent of P desorption in the hybrid resin methods was >50% of total desorbed phosphate in the other methods. The initial kinetic rate estimated in the pseudo-second-order kinetic model was also highest (3.03–31.35 mg/(g·hr)) in the hybrid resin method when the same soil system was compared. This is because adsorbed P in the hybrid resins was nearly irreversible. The hybrid anion exchange resin might be a new and ideal sink in measuring the P desorption process in soils and sediments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sorption Processes in Soils and Sediments)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Soil Microbial Communities in Corn Fields Treated with Atoxigenic Aspergillus flavus
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020035 - 27 May 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1396
Abstract
Aspergillus flavus refers to a diverse group of saprophytic soil fungi that includes strains producing aflatoxins (toxigenic strains) in the kernels of corn (Zea mays L.) and other crops, causing pre-harvest and post-harvest aflatoxin contamination. Some A. flavus strains are atoxigenic, and [...] Read more.
Aspergillus flavus refers to a diverse group of saprophytic soil fungi that includes strains producing aflatoxins (toxigenic strains) in the kernels of corn (Zea mays L.) and other crops, causing pre-harvest and post-harvest aflatoxin contamination. Some A. flavus strains are atoxigenic, and the introduction of such strains into the crop environment helps reduce toxigenic aflatoxin contamination. Corn growers in Texas have used the product FourSure™, which contains four atoxigenic strains of A. flavus; however, effects on soil microbial communities associated with these applications are unknown. We compared soil fungal and bacterial communities in corn fields treated with FourSure™ to nearby untreated (control) corn fields in Texas during the summer of 2019. Analysis of soil microbial community structure showed that total fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs), fungal, and bacterial populations were not significantly different (p = 0.31) between the FourSure™-treated and control fields, yet corn fields located in the northern counties had more (p < 0.05) Gram—bacteria, actinobacteria, and total bacteria than fields in the southernmost county. The Gram—bacteria and actinobacteria were positively correlated (p = 0.04; r = 0.48 and 0.49, respectively) with soil water content. Similar fungal and bacterial abundances between FourSure™-treated and control fields indicated that atoxigenic A. flavus had no negative effects on soil microbial communities. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Recycling of Waste Materials for Stabilizing Ash from Co-Combustion of Municipal Solid Wastes with an Olive By-Product: Soil Leaching Experiments
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020034 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 1085
Abstract
In the context of the current environmental policies of the European Union promoting the recycling and reuse of waste materials, this work aimed at investigating the environmental impact of ashes produced from the co-combustion of municipal solid wastes with olive kernel in a [...] Read more.
In the context of the current environmental policies of the European Union promoting the recycling and reuse of waste materials, this work aimed at investigating the environmental impact of ashes produced from the co-combustion of municipal solid wastes with olive kernel in a fixed bed unit. Lignite fly ash, silica fume, wheat straw ash, meat and bone meal biochar, and mixtures of them were used as stabilizing ash materials. All solids were characterized by physical, chemical and mineralogical analyses. Column leaching tests of unstabilized and stabilized ash through a quarzitic soil were conducted, simulating field conditions. pH, electrical conductivity, chloride, sulphate and phosphate ions, major and trace elements in the leachates were measured. The results showed that alkaline compounds were partially dissolved in water extracts, increasing their pH and thus decreasing the leachability of heavy metals from the ash. Cr leached from unstabilized ash reached a hazardous level. Upon the stabilization of ash, the concentrations of heavy metals in the extracts were reduced between 9% and 100%, and were below legislation limits for disposal, apart from Cr. The latter was achieved only when meat and bone meal biochar was used as stabilizer. Entrapment of ash elements was assigned to the amorphous silica and to the phosphates of the stabilizing materials, as well as complexed silicates formed during the process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sorption Processes in Soils and Sediments)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Correction
Correction: Krenz, J., et al. Soil Degradation Mapping in Drylands Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Data. Soil Syst. 2019, 3, 33
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020033 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 723
Abstract
The authors wish to make the following corrections to this paper [...] Full article
Show Figures

Figure 6

Review
Use of Topographic Models for Mapping Soil Properties and Processes
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020032 - 15 May 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1393
Abstract
Landscape topography is an important driver of landscape distributions of soil properties and processes due to its impacts on gravity-driven overland and intrasoil lateral transport of water and nutrients. Rapid advancements in aerial, space, and geographic technologies have led to large scale availability [...] Read more.
Landscape topography is an important driver of landscape distributions of soil properties and processes due to its impacts on gravity-driven overland and intrasoil lateral transport of water and nutrients. Rapid advancements in aerial, space, and geographic technologies have led to large scale availability of digital elevation models (DEMs), which have proven beneficial in a wide range of applications by providing detailed topographic information. In this report, we presented a summary of recent topography-based soil studies and reviewed five main groups of topographic models in geospatial analyses widely used for soil sciences. We then compared performances of two types of topography-based models—topographic principal component regression (TPCR) and TPCR-kriging (TPCR-Kr)—to ordinary kriging (OKr) models in mapping spatial patterns of soil organic carbon (SOC) density and redistribution (SR) rate. The TPCR and OKr models were calibrated at an agricultural field site that has been intensively sampled, and the TPCR and TPCR-Kr models were evaluated at another field of interest with two sampling transects. High-resolution topographic variables generated from light detection and ranging (LiDAR)-derived DEMs were used as inputs for the TPCR model building. Both TPCR and OKr models provided satisfactory results on SOC density and SR rate estimations during model calibration. The TPCR models successfully extrapolated soil parameters outside of the area in which the model was developed but tended to underestimate the range of observations. The TPCR-Kr models increased the accuracies of estimations due to the inclusion of residual kriging calculated from observations of transects for local correction. The results suggest that even with low sample intensives, the TPCR-Kr models can reduce estimation variances and provide higher accuracy than the TPCR models. The case study demonstrated the feasibility of using a combination of linear regression and spatial correlation analysis to localize a topographic model and to improve the accuracy of soil property predictions in different regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proximal Soil Sensing Applications)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Proximal Mobile Gamma Spectrometry as Tool for Precision Farming and Field Experimentation
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020031 - 14 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1059
Abstract
Soils naturally emit gamma radiation that can be recorded using gamma spectrometry. Spectral features are correlated with soil mineralogy and texture. Recording spectra proximally and in real-time on heterogeneous agricultural fields is an option for precision agriculture. However, the technology has not yet [...] Read more.
Soils naturally emit gamma radiation that can be recorded using gamma spectrometry. Spectral features are correlated with soil mineralogy and texture. Recording spectra proximally and in real-time on heterogeneous agricultural fields is an option for precision agriculture. However, the technology has not yet been broadly introduced. This study aims to evaluate the current state-of-the art by (i) elucidating limitations and (ii) giving application examples. Spectra were recorded with a tractor-mounted spectrometer comprising two 4.2 L sodium iodide (NaI) crystals and were evaluated with the regions of interest for total counts, 40Potassium, and 232Thorium. A published site-independent multivariate calibration model was further extended, applied to the data, and compared with site-specific calibrations that relied on linear correlation. In general, site-specific calibration outperformed the site-independent approach. However, in specific cases, different sites could also replace each other in the site-independent model. Transferring site-specific models to neighbouring sites revealed highly variable success. However, even without data, post-processing gamma surveys detected spatial texture patterns. For most sites, mean absolute error of prediction in the test-set validation was below 5% for single texture fractions. On this basis, thematic maps for agricultural management were derived. They showed quantitative information for lime requirement in the range from 1068 to 3560 kg lime ha−1 a−1 (equivalent to 600–2000 kg calcium oxide (CaO) ha−1 a−1 if converted to the legally prescribed unit) and for field capacity (26−44% v/v). In field experimentation, spatially resolved texture data can serve (i) to optimize the experimental design or (ii) as a complementary variable in statistical evaluation. We concluded that broadening the database and developing universally valid prediction models is needed for introduction into agricultural practice. Though, the current state-of-the-art allows valuable application in precision agriculture and field experimentation, at least on the basis of site-specific or regional basis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proximal Soil Sensing Applications)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Streambank Legacy Sediments in Surface Waters: Phosphorus Sources or Sinks?
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020030 - 11 May 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1396
Abstract
Streambank legacy sediments can contribute substantial amounts of sediments to Mid-Atlantic waterways. However, there is uncertainty about the sediment-bound P inputs and the fate of legacy sediment P in surface waters. We compared legacy sediment P concentrations against other streambank sediments and upland [...] Read more.
Streambank legacy sediments can contribute substantial amounts of sediments to Mid-Atlantic waterways. However, there is uncertainty about the sediment-bound P inputs and the fate of legacy sediment P in surface waters. We compared legacy sediment P concentrations against other streambank sediments and upland soils and evaluated a variety of P indices to determine if legacy sediments are a source or sink of P to surface waters. Legacy sediments were collected from 15 streambanks in the mid-Atlantic USA. Total P and M3P concentrations and % degree of phosphorus saturation (DPS) values for legacy sediments were lower than those for upland soils. % DPS values for legacy sediments were below the water quality threshold for P leaching. Phosphorus sorption index (PSI) values for legacy sediments indicated a large capacity for P sorption. On the other hand, equilibrium phosphorus concentration (EPC0) for legacy sediments suggested that they could be a source or a sink depending on stream water P concentrations. Anoxic conditions resulted in a greater release of P from legacy sediments compared to oxic conditions. These results suggest that legacy sediment P behavior could be highly variable and watershed models will need to account for this variability to reliably quantify the source-sink behavior of legacy sediments in surface waters. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Autogenous Eutrophication, Anthropogenic Eutrophication, and Climate Change: Insights from the Antrift Reservoir (Hesse, Germany)
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020029 - 07 May 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1227
Abstract
Climate change is projected to aggravate water quality impairment and to endanger drinking water supply. The effects of global warming on water quality must be understood better to develop targeted mitigation strategies. We conducted water and sediment analyses in the eutrophicated Antrift catchment [...] Read more.
Climate change is projected to aggravate water quality impairment and to endanger drinking water supply. The effects of global warming on water quality must be understood better to develop targeted mitigation strategies. We conducted water and sediment analyses in the eutrophicated Antrift catchment (Hesse, Germany) in the uncommonly warm years 2018/2019 to take an empirical look into the future under climate change conditions. In our study, algae blooms persisted long into autumn 2018 (November), and started early in spring 2019 (April). We found excessive phosphorus (P) concentrations throughout the year. At high flow in winter, P desorption from sediments fostered high P concentrations in the surface waters. We lead this back to the natural catchment-specific geochemical constraints of sediment P reactions (dilution- and pH-driven). Under natural conditions, the temporal dynamics of these constraints most likely led to high P concentrations, but probably did not cause algae blooms. Since the construction of a dammed reservoir, frequent algae blooms with sporadic fish kills have been occurring. Thus, management should focus less on reducing catchment P concentrations, but on counteracting summerly dissolved oxygen (DO) depletion in the reservoir. Particular attention should be paid to the monitoring and control of sediment P concentrations, especially under climate change. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
From Plant to Paddy—How Rice Root Iron Plaque Can Affect the Paddy Field Iron Cycling
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020028 - 30 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1948
Abstract
Iron plaque on rice roots represents a sink and source of iron in paddy fields. However, the extent of iron plaque in impacting paddy field iron cycling is not yet fully deciphered. Here, we followed iron plaque formation during plant growth in laboratory-controlled [...] Read more.
Iron plaque on rice roots represents a sink and source of iron in paddy fields. However, the extent of iron plaque in impacting paddy field iron cycling is not yet fully deciphered. Here, we followed iron plaque formation during plant growth in laboratory-controlled setups containing a transparent soil matrix. Using image analysis, microsensor measurements, and mineral extractions, we demonstrate that radial oxygen loss (ROL) is the main driver for rhizosphere iron oxidation. While O2 was restricted to the vicinity of roots, root tips showed highest spatio-temporal variation in ROL (<5–50 µM) following diurnal patterns. Iron plaque covered >30% of the total root surface corresponding to 60–180 mg Fe(III) per gram dried root and gradually transformed from low-crystalline minerals (e.g., ferrihydrite) on root tips, to >20% higher-crystalline minerals (e.g., goethite) within 40 days. Iron plaque exposed to an Fe(III)-reducing Geobacter spp. culture resulted in 30% Fe(II) remobilization and >50% microbial transformation to Fe(II) minerals (e.g., siderite, vivianite, and Fe–S phases) or persisted by >15% as Fe(III) minerals. Based on the collected data, we estimated that iron plaque formation and reductive dissolution can impact more than 5% of the rhizosphere iron budget which has consequences for the (im)mobilization of soil contaminants and nutrients. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Integrating Density Functional Theory Modeling with Experimental Data to Understand and Predict Sorption Reactions: Exchange of Salicylate for Phosphate on Goethite
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020027 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1101
Abstract
Density functional theory (DFT) calculations are a quantum mechanical approach that can be used to model chemical reactions on an atomistic scale. DFT provides predictions on structures, thermodynamics, spectroscopic parameters and kinetics that can be compared against experimentally determined data. This paper is [...] Read more.
Density functional theory (DFT) calculations are a quantum mechanical approach that can be used to model chemical reactions on an atomistic scale. DFT provides predictions on structures, thermodynamics, spectroscopic parameters and kinetics that can be compared against experimentally determined data. This paper is a primer on the basics of utilizing DFT for applications in mineral-water interfaces. In our case-study, we use DFT to model the surface complexes of phosphate and salicylate adsorbed onto the (101) and (210) surfaces of α-FeOOH (goethite), as an example of combining DFT and experiment. These three components are important in the phosphorus-organic matter interactions in soils, and by comparing the energies of the two surface complexes, the exchange energy of salicylate for phosphate onto goethite can be estimated. The structures of the surface complexes are predicted and the resulting vibrational frequencies calculated based on these structures are compared to previous observations. Upon verification of reasonable surface complex models, the potential energy of exchanging salicylate for phosphate is calculated and shown to be significantly exothermic. This model result is consistent with observations of plant exudates, such as salicylate freeing adsorbed phosphate in soils under P-limited conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sorption Processes in Soils and Sediments)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
A Probabilistic Approach to Phosphorus Speciation of Soils Using P K-edge XANES Spectroscopy with Linear Combination Fitting
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020026 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2767
Abstract
A common technique to quantitatively estimate P speciation in soil samples is to apply linear combination fitting (LCF) to normalized P K-edge X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectra. Despite the rapid growth of such applications, the uncertainties of the fitted weights are still [...] Read more.
A common technique to quantitatively estimate P speciation in soil samples is to apply linear combination fitting (LCF) to normalized P K-edge X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectra. Despite the rapid growth of such applications, the uncertainties of the fitted weights are still poorly known. Further, there are few reports to what extent the LCF standards represent unique end-members. Here, the co-variance between 34 standards was determined and their significance for LCF was discussed. We present a probabilistic approach for refining the calculation of LCF weights based on Latin hypercube sampling of normalized XANES spectra, where the contributions of energy calibration and normalization to fit uncertainty were considered. Many of the LCF standards, particularly within the same standard groups, were strongly correlated. This supports an approach in which the LCF standards are grouped. Moreover, adsorbed phytates and monetite were well described by other standards, which puts into question their use as end-members in LCF. Use of the probabilistic method resulted in uncertainties ranging from 2 to 11 percentage units. Uncertainties in the calibrated energy were important for the LCF weights, particularly for organic P, which changed with up to 2.7 percentage units per 0.01 eV error in energy. These results highlight the necessity of careful energy calibration and the use of frequent calibration checks. The probabilistic approach, in which at least 100 spectral variants are analyzed, improves our ability to identify the most likely P compounds present in a soil sample, and a procedure for this is suggested in the paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Using Synchrotron Radiation to Perform Phosphate Speciation in Soils)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Identifying Potential Leakage Zones in an Irrigation Supply Channel by Mapping Soil Properties Using Electromagnetic Induction, Inversion Modelling and a Support Vector Machine
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020025 - 22 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1171
Abstract
The clay alluvial plains of Namoi Valley have been intensively developed for irrigation. A condition of a license is water needs to be stored on the farm. However, the clay plain was developed from prior stream channels characterised by sandy clay loam textures [...] Read more.
The clay alluvial plains of Namoi Valley have been intensively developed for irrigation. A condition of a license is water needs to be stored on the farm. However, the clay plain was developed from prior stream channels characterised by sandy clay loam textures that are permeable. Cheap methods of soil physical and chemical characterisations are required to map the supply channels used to move water on farms. Herein, we collect apparent electrical conductivity (ECa) from a DUALEM-421 along a 4-km section of a supply channel. We invert ECa to generate electromagnetic conductivity images (EMCI) using EM4Soil software and evaluate two-dimensional models of estimates of true electrical conductivity (σ—mS m−1) against physical (i.e., clay and sand—%) and chemical properties (i.e., electrical conductivity of saturated soil paste extract (ECe—dS m−1) and the cation exchange capacity (CEC, cmol(+) kg−1). Using a support vector machine (SVM), we predict these properties from the σ and depth. Leave-one-site-out cross-validation shows strong 1:1 agreement (Lin’s) between the σ and clay (0.85), sand (0.81), ECe (0.86) and CEC (0.83). Our interpretation of predicted properties suggests the approach can identify leakage areas (i.e., prior stream channels). We suggest that, with this calibration, the approach can be used to predict soil physical and chemical properties beneath supply channels across the rest of the valley. Future research should also explore whether similar calibrations can be developed to enable characterisations in other cotton-growing areas of Australia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proximal Soil Sensing Applications)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Editorial
Understanding the Ecology of Restored Fen Peatlands for Protection and Sustainable Use
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020024 - 21 Apr 2020
Viewed by 852
Abstract
Natural peatlands are the most effective terrestrial carbon stock on our planet [...] Full article
Review
Coming-of-Age Characterization of Soil Viruses: A User’s Guide to Virus Isolation, Detection within Metagenomes, and Viromics
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020023 - 21 Apr 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3762
Abstract
The study of soil viruses, though not new, has languished relative to the study of marine viruses. This is particularly due to challenges associated with separating virions from harboring soils. Generally, three approaches to analyzing soil viruses have been employed: (1) Isolation, to [...] Read more.
The study of soil viruses, though not new, has languished relative to the study of marine viruses. This is particularly due to challenges associated with separating virions from harboring soils. Generally, three approaches to analyzing soil viruses have been employed: (1) Isolation, to characterize virus genotypes and phenotypes, the primary method used prior to the start of the 21st century. (2) Metagenomics, which has revealed a vast diversity of viruses while also allowing insights into viral community ecology, although with limitations due to DNA from cellular organisms obscuring viral DNA. (3) Viromics (targeted metagenomics of virus-like-particles), which has provided a more focused development of ‘virus-sequence-to-ecology’ pipelines, a result of separation of presumptive virions from cellular organisms prior to DNA extraction. This separation permits greater sequencing emphasis on virus DNA and thereby more targeted molecular and ecological characterization of viruses. Employing viromics to characterize soil systems presents new challenges, however. Ones that only recently are being addressed. Here we provide a guide to implementing these three approaches to studying environmental viruses, highlighting benefits, difficulties, and potential contamination, all toward fostering greater focus on viruses in the study of soil ecology. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Editorial
Formation and Fluxes of Soil Trace Gases
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020022 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1122
Abstract
Trace gas cycling is an important feature of the soil system [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Formation and Fluxes of Soil Trace Gases)
Article
Phosphate Sorption onto Structured Soil
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020021 - 13 Apr 2020
Viewed by 929
Abstract
Soil–phosphorus interactions are frequently studied employing the slurry technique, in which soil samples are intensively mixed with phosphate solutions of various concentrations. The result of such experiments is a “phosphate sorption potential” because the thorough mixing of soil and phosphate solution as obtained [...] Read more.
Soil–phosphorus interactions are frequently studied employing the slurry technique, in which soil samples are intensively mixed with phosphate solutions of various concentrations. The result of such experiments is a “phosphate sorption potential” because the thorough mixing of soil and phosphate solution as obtained by overhead or horizontal shaking of the slurry would probably not occur under natural conditions, especially if the soil is structured. Here, we wanted to test the impact of soil structure on phosphorus (P) removal from aqueous solution. Soil aggregates of a defined size class were prepared by carefully sieving the soil. The soil aggregates were individually wrapped in an inert fabric and placed on a sieve, which was lowered into a basin containing a phosphate solution of a given concentration. The decrease of the phosphate solution concentration with time was registered at fixed intervals, and adsorbed amounts were quantified by differences between initial concentrations and concentrations at the time of sampling. Pre-tests on fine earth revealed that sorption was more pronounced in the classical slurry batch experiment than in the approach used in this study. Differences between methods were more pronounced at lower initial phosphate concentrations. The increase in P sorption in the classical batch experiment continued over 24 h to 140 mg kg−1, while the adsorbed P amount remained constant (64 mg kg−1) after 6 h in the diffusion experiment. Interestingly, it was observed that the sorption onto soil aggregates was elevated as compared to unstructured fine earth. The sorption capacity of aggregates was approximately one third higher than that of the fine earth samples according to optimized Freundlich adsorption coefficients. This was unexpected since it was assumed that the soil surface area available for sorption processes is greater or at least far more accessible if the unstructured fine earth is exposed to the phosphate solution. We conclude that if the inner pore space of soil aggregates is readily accessible and diffusion is not hindered, the overall retention capacity of intact aggregates might be higher than that of the disturbed soil because the intra-aggregate pore space can accommodate a certain fraction of phosphate in addition to the adsorbed amount at particle surfaces. The presented experimental approach allows for studying sorption processes in well-structured and fine earth in conditions that perform better compared to the natural situation. Additional testing of the method for different soil types is advisable. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Irrigation and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: A Review of Field-Based Studies
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020020 - 13 Apr 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2336
Abstract
Irrigation practices can greatly influence greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions because of their control on soil microbial activity and substrate supply. However, the effects of different irrigation management practices, such as flood irrigations versus reduced volume methods, including drip and sprinkler irrigation, on GHG [...] Read more.
Irrigation practices can greatly influence greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions because of their control on soil microbial activity and substrate supply. However, the effects of different irrigation management practices, such as flood irrigations versus reduced volume methods, including drip and sprinkler irrigation, on GHG emissions are still poorly understood. Therefore, this review was performed to investigate the effects of different irrigation management strategies on the emission of nitrous oxide (N2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane (CH4) by synthesizing existing research that either directly or indirectly examined the effects of at least two irrigation rates on GHG emissions within a single field-based study. Out of thirty-two articles selected for review, reduced irrigation was found to be effective in lowering the rate of CH4 emissions, while flood irrigation had the highest CH4 emission. The rate of CO2 emission increased mostly under low irrigation, and the effect of irrigation strategies on N2O emissions were inconsistent, though a majority of studies reported low N2O emissions in continuously flooded field treatments. The global warming potential (GWP) demonstrated that reduced or water-saving irrigation strategies have the potential to decrease the effect of GHG emissions. In general, GWP was higher for the field that was continuously flooded. The major finding from this review is that optimizing irrigation may help to reduce CH4 emissions and net GWP. However, more field research assessing the effect of varying rates of irrigation on the emission of GHGs from the agricultural field is warranted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Formation and Fluxes of Soil Trace Gases)
Article
Agronomic Practices for Reducing Soil Erosion in Hillside Vineyards under Atlantic Climatic Conditions (Galicia, Spain)
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020019 - 02 Apr 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1523
Abstract
Water erosion is a severe threat to soil resources, especially on cultivated lands, such as vineyards, which are extremely susceptible to soil losses. In this context, management practices aiming at reducing erosion risks must be favored. This current study aimed at estimating soil [...] Read more.
Water erosion is a severe threat to soil resources, especially on cultivated lands, such as vineyards, which are extremely susceptible to soil losses. In this context, management practices aiming at reducing erosion risks must be favored. This current study aimed at estimating soil losses in two vineyards under Atlantic climatic conditions (Galicia, North West Spain). The capacity of two management practices for reducing soil erosion was tested and compared with tilled soil in the inter-rows: (i) application of mulching, and (ii) maintaining native vegetation. Soil losses were assessed using erosion pins and micro-plots. In addition, the improved stock unearthing method (ISUM) was employed in one of the vineyards to estimate soil remobilization since plantation. Soil loss rates in one of the vineyards were lower when soil was managed under mulching (0.36 Mg ha−1) and native vegetation (0.42 Mg ha−1), compared to tilled soil (0.84 Mg ha−1). Sediment losses measured in the second vineyard ranged between 0.21 and 0.69 Mg ha−1, depending on the treatment, but no clear conclusions could be drawn. Long-term soil loss, as estimated by ISUM, was of the same order of magnitude than that obtained by erosion pins and micro-plots. In both vineyards, soil loss rates were lower than those registered in Mediterranean vineyards, and were below the limit for sustainable erosion in Europe. Nevertheless, soil management practices alternative to tillage in the inter-row might reduce erosion risks under Atlantic climate conditions. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Pedogenic Processes in a Posidonia oceanica Mat
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4020018 - 26 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1826
Abstract
Scientists studying seagrasses typically refer to their substratum as sediment, but recently researchers have begun to refer to it as a soil. However, the logistics of sampling underwater substrata and the fragility of these ecosystems challenge their study using pedological methods. Previous studies [...] Read more.
Scientists studying seagrasses typically refer to their substratum as sediment, but recently researchers have begun to refer to it as a soil. However, the logistics of sampling underwater substrata and the fragility of these ecosystems challenge their study using pedological methods. Previous studies have reported geochemical processes within the rhizosphere that are compatible with pedogenesis. Seagrass substratum accumulated over the Recent Holocene and can reach several meters in thickness, but studies about deeper layers are scarce. This study is a first attempt to find sound evidence of vertical structuring in Posidonia oceanica deposits to serve as a basis for more detailed pedological studies. A principal component analysis on X-Ray Fluorescence-elemental composition, carbonate content and organic matter content data along a 475 cm core was able to identify four main physico-chemical signals: humification, accumulation of carbonates, texture and organic matter depletion. The results revealed a highly structured deposit undergoing pedogenetical processes characteristic of soils rather than a mere accumulation of sediments. Further research is required to properly describe the substratum underneath seagrass meadows, decide between the sediment or soil nature for seagrass substrata, and for the eventual inclusion of seagrass substrata in soil classifications and the mapping of seagrass soil resources. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Previous Issue
Next Issue
Back to TopTop