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The effect of four calcium‐based amendments on soil aggregate stability of two sandy topsoils

Vargas, Gabriela, Verdejo, José, Rivera, Adrian, Suárez, Domingo, Youlton, Cristian, Celis-Diez, Juan L., Le Bissonnais, Yves, Dovletyarova, Elvira A., Neaman, Alexander
Zeitschrift für Pflanzenernährung und Bodenkunde 2019 v.182 no.2 pp. 159-166
aggregate stability, calcium carbonate, calcium chloride, calcium hydroxide, calcium oxide, calcium sulfate, carbon dioxide, flocculation, mechanism of action, soil aggregates, soil amendments, soil degradation, solubility, topsoil
The structural stability of soil is a physical characteristic that affects soil degradation processes. Calcium‐based amendments, such as calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, and calcium oxide/hydroxide, have been shown to improve the stability of soil aggregates. This study seeks to determine which calcium‐based soil amendments, and at what concentration, are the most efficient in improving aggregate stability of sandy topsoils derived from granitic and metamorphic parent materials, and to analyze the mechanisms involved. In the pot experiment, soils amended with CaCO₃, CaCl₂, and CaSO₄ did not present significant differences in aggregate stability compared to the control or among each other. In contrast, Ca(OH)₂ soil amendment brought the greatest stability to the soil aggregates. A dose of 1% Ca(OH)₂ significantly increased the stability of soil aggregates. This effect is due to the reaction of Ca(OH)₂ with atmospheric CO₂ which leads to the formation of CaCO₃, a delayed reaction not showed by the other soil amendments tested. Likewise, the greater solubility of Ca(OH)₂ compared to CaCO₃ exerts a greater aggregation effect on soil. Thus, the mechanism of action of Ca(OH)₂ is related to cementation, rather than flocculation. Future studies should be carried out to demonstrate the effectiveness of Ca(OH)₂ under field conditions.