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Mechanisms of potassium release from calcareous soils to different salt, organic acid and inorganic acid solutions

Najafi-Ghiri, M., Niazi, M., Khodabakhshi, M., Boostani, H. R., Owliaie, H. R.
Soil research 2019 v.57 no.3 pp. 301-309
aluminum, calcareous soils, calcium, calcium carbonate, calcium chloride, cations, citrates, citric acid, flocculation, hydrochloric acid, illite, long term experiments, magnesium, microorganisms, oxalates, oxalic acid, potassium, potassium chloride, roots, smectite, soil minerals
Mechanisms of potassium (K) release and fixation in calcareous soils may differ from non-calcareous soils. In the current investigation, four soils with different properties were extracted three and 10 times (45 and 150min, defined as short- and long-term respectively) with 0.025molL−1 CaCl2, HCl and oxalic and citric acid solutions and the contents of calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), aluminium (Al) and K in the extracts were determined. Immediately after K extraction, 500mg kg-1 of K (as KCl) was added to the remaining soils and shaken for 24h and K-fixation capacity was determined. No significant difference was observed between CaCl2 and HCl solutions in K extraction from soils in the short- and long-term experiments; the concentrations of Ca, Mg and Al in the extractants showed that HCl was not able to dissolve soil minerals and the soils released K via exchange reaction of Ca (originated from CaCO3 dissolution by HCl) with interlayer K. The organic acids had similar behaviour to each other in the short-term experiment; however, partial dissolution of minerals by citric acid was observed. Oxalic acid extracted less K than other solutions in the short-term experiment due to precipitation of soluble Ca as oxalate salt and thereby less exchange of soluble Ca with non-exchangeable K. Oxalic and citric acids dissolved K-bearing minerals and released K in the long-term experiment, but oxalic acid was more effective. The K-fixation capacity of soils was lower when treated with organic acids than with CaCl2 and HCl, possibly due to the dissolution of K-fixing minerals like smectite and illite by oxalate and citrate. Long-term treatment of soils with different solutions decreased K-fixation capacity of soils due to dissolution of K-fixing minerals or flocculation of minerals by Ca and slower K diffusion to the interlayer. With respect to the highly calcareous nature of the studied soils, the soluble cations in calcareous soils (predominantly Ca and Mg) may have been exchanged with non-exchangeable K of clay minerals and buffered soluble K as well as organic acids produced by plant roots and microorganisms.