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Does Turbulent-flow Conditioning of Irrigation Water Influence Soil Chemical Processes: II. Long-term Soil and Crop Study

Rodrick D. Lentz, James A. Ippolito, Kurt A. Spokas
Communications in soil science and plant analysis 2022 v.53 no.5 pp. 636-650
aluminum, ammonium nitrogen, biomass production, calcium, cations, copper, electrical conductivity, inorganic carbon, iron, irrigation water, leachates, magnesium, manganese, mineralization, multivariate analysis, nitrate nitrogen, nutrient availability, nutrient uptake, phosphorus, plant analysis, potassium, sodium, soil water, total nitrogen, turbulent flow, zinc
Recent laboratory evidence suggests that the intrinsic behavior of molecular water in soil is altered by turbulent-flow conditioning (CTap) of mineralized irrigation water (Tap). This 9-yr (2009 to 2017), irrigated, outdoor, cropped pot study evaluated the effect of Tap and CTap irrigation water on soil leachate chemistry, nutrient availability, and aboveground crop biomass yield and nutrient uptake. CTap increased cumulative mass losses of: nitrate nitrogen 2.5-fold; manganese 2-fold; potassium (K) 1.6-fold; magnesium (Mg), dissolved organic carbon, and ammonium nitrogen (NH₄-N) an average 1.2-fold; and increased the mean electrical conductivity of leachate 1.2-fold. In both the current and a previous laboratory study (see Part 1), K, NH₄-N, and Mg were leachate components most consistently selected by multivariate analysis as best discriminating between water treatments. The evidence also suggests that CTap increased mean available soil zinc (Zn) 2.4-fold, copper, K, and soil phosphorus an average 1.4-fold, sodium and iron (Fe) 1.2-fold, and decreased soil total carbon, TC (4%), total inorganic carbon (8%) and Mg (9%) relative to the Tap. In addition, CTap increased average crop biomass element concentrations: Zn, Fe, and aluminum an average 1.3-fold; total nitrogen, calcium, K, and sulfur 1.1-fold; and decreased TC (2%) relative to Tap. If the capacity of this simple device to increase soil cation leaching can be confirmed in broader applications, it could potentially provide an economical means of increasing the availability of nutrients in soils irrigated with conditioned water and managing or remediating degraded, salt-affected soils.