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Higher cation exchange capacity determined lower critical soil pH and higher Al concentration for soybean


Low soil pH and aluminum (Al) toxicity induced by soil acidification are the main obstacles in many regions of the world for crop production. The purpose of this study was to reveal the mechanisms on how the properties of the soils derived from different parent materials play role on the determination of critical soil pH and Al concentration for soybean crops. A set of soybean pot experiment was executed in greenhouse with a soil pH gradient as treatment for each of four soils to fulfill the objectives of this study. The results indicated that plant growth parameters were affected adversely due to Al toxicity at low soil pH level in all soils. The critical soil pH varied with soil type and parent materials. They were 4.38, 4.63, 4.74, and 4.95 in the Alfisol derived from loss deposit, and the Ultisols derived from Quaternary red earth, granite, and Tertiary red sandstone, respectively. The critical soil exchangeable Al was 2.42, 1.82, 1.55, and 1.44 cmolc/kg for the corresponding soils. At 90% yield level, the critical Al saturation was 6.94, 10.36, 17.79, and 22.75% for the corresponding soils. The lower critical soil pH and Al saturation, and higher soil exchangeable Al were mainly due to greater soil CEC and exchangeable base cations. Therefore, we recommended that critical soil pH, soil exchangeable Al, and Al saturation should be considered during judicious liming approach for soybean production.

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This study was supported by the National Key Basic Research Program of China (grant number: 2014CB441003). The first author gratefully acknowledges the Chinese Academy of Sciences—The World Academy of Sciences President’s Fellowship for his Ph. D studies in China.

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Correspondence to Ren-kou Xu.

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Responsible editor: Zhihong Xu

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Baquy, MA., Li, Jy., Shi, Ry. et al. Higher cation exchange capacity determined lower critical soil pH and higher Al concentration for soybean. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 6980–6989 (2018).

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  • Al saturation
  • Alfisol
  • Critical soil pH
  • Soil acidification
  • Soybean
  • Ultisol