Organic anion-to-acid ratio influences pH change of soils differing in initial pH
journal contributionposted on 2021-01-06, 00:56 authored by F Rukshana, C Butterly, J Xu, J Baldock, Caixian TangCaixian Tang
Purpose: This study aimed to investigate the effect of initial soil pH and organic anion-to-acid ratio on changes in soil pH. Materials and methods: Two soils (Podosol and Tenosol) along with two carboxylic acids (malic and citric acid) and their anions (sodium malate and citrate), commonly found in plant residues, were used in this study. Stock solutions of either malic acid and disodium malate or citric acid and trisodium citrate were added to pre-incubated soils at anion-to-acid ratios of 0:100, 10:90, 25:75, 50:50, 75:25, 90:10, 100:0 and at 0.25 g C kg-1 soil. Soils were adjusted to 80 % field capacity and mixed thoroughly, and three replicates of 50 g of each soil were transferred into individual plastic cores and incubated at 25 °C in the dark for 30 days. Soil pH, respiration, NH4+, and NO3- were determined. Results and discussion: Soil pH increased linearly with increasing organic anion-to-acid ratio. The addition of organic anions to soil resulted in net alkalinisation. However, the addition of organic acids immediately decreased soil pH. During subsequent incubation, soil pH increased when the organic anions were decomposed. Alkalinity generation was lower in the Podosol (initial pH 4.5) than in the Tenosol (initial pH 6.2), and was proportional to anion-to-acid ratio across all the treatments. Cumulative CO2-C release was approximately three times lower in the Podosol than the Tenosol at day 2 due to lower microbial activity in the low-pH Podosol. Conclusions: Increasing anion-to-acid ratio of organic compounds increased soil pH. Increases in soil pH were mainly attributed to direct chemical reactions and decomposition of organic anions. Low pH decreased the amount of alkalinity generated by addition of organic compounds due to incomplete decomposition of the added compounds. This study implies that organic anion-to-acid ratio in plant residues plays an important role in soil pH change. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.