, Volume 231, Issue 1, pp 55-63

Rapid transformations of plant water-soluble organic compounds in relation to cation mobilization in an acid Oxisol

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The maintenance of plant residues on the surface of acid soils in no-tillage cropping systems reportedly increases the downward mobility of Ca and Al. This study investigated the effects of application of aqueous extracts of residues of radish (Raphanus sativus), blue lupine (Lupinus angustifolius), black oat (Avena strigosa), soybean (Glicine max), and wheat (Triticum aestivum), without incubation (initial extract) or incubated (15-day extract), on the chemistry of an acid Oxisol in 0.20-m columns. The application of initial extracts of plant residues increased the pH and the KCl-extractable contents of Ca2+, Mg2+ and Mehlich 1-extractable K+, and decreased the KCl-extractable Al3+ in the following order: blue lupine > radish > black oat > soybean > wheat. The Ca concentrations of the effluents, after application of the initial extracts of radish and blue lupine, were virtually the same as those in the extracts before application, whereas K was decreased by 40 – 90%, and more Al was extracted from the soil than the amount determined as KCl-extractable Al. The initial and 15-day extracts had similar effects on soil Ca and Al, however, the capacity of mobilizing Ca and Al was markedly decreased in the latter. This difference was associated with the type and relative composition of organic compounds in the water soluble organic fraction in both extracts as determined by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS). The concentration of water soluble organic compounds in the fresh green manures residues became drastically decreased (50% on average) after the incubation. The initial extracts of blue lupine and radish had a high proportion (20 and 30%, respectively) of the organic compounds as short-chain fatty acids with a high capacity of forming stable complexes with Ca and Al. In contrast, the 15-day extracts were predominated by long-chain fatty acids and aromatic compounds, which did not show the same effect. Fresh green-manure residues had water-soluble organic compounds of low molecular weight with high capacity of forming stable complexes with Ca and Al. The biological oxidation of these organic compounds occurred rapidly, markedly decreasing the capacity to mobilize cations in the aqueous plant-residue extracts.