Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 1490–1499 | Cite as

Critical pH and exchangeable Al of four acidic soils derived from different parent materials for maize crops

  • M. Abdulaha-Al Baquy
  • Jiu-Yu Li
  • Jun Jiang
  • Khalid Mehmood
  • Ren-Yong Shi
  • Ren-Kou Xu
Soils, Sec 2 • Global Change, Environ Risk Assess, Sustainable Land Use • Research Article



The purpose of this study is to determine the critical soil pH, exchangeable aluminum (Al), and Al saturation of the soils derived from different parent materials for maize.

Materials and methods

An Alfisol derived from loess deposit and three Ultisols derived from Quaternary red earth, granite, and Tertiary red sandstone were used for pot experiment in greenhouse. Ca(OH)2 and Al2(SO4)3 were used to adjust soil pH to target values. The critical soil pH was obtained by two intersected linear lines of maize height, chlorophyll content, and yield of shoot and root dry matter changing with soil pH.

Results and discussion

In low soil pH, Al toxicity significantly decreased plant height, chlorophyll content, and shoot and root dry matter yields of maize crops. The critical values of soil pH, exchangeable Al, and Al saturation varied with soil types. Critical soil pH was 4.46, 4.73, 4.77, and 5.07 for the Alfisol derived from loess deposit and the Ultisol derived from Quaternary red earth, granite, and Tertiary red sandstone, respectively. Critical soil exchangeable Al was 2.74, 1.99, 1.93, and 1.04 cmolckg−1 for the corresponding soils, respectively. Critical Al saturation was 5.63, 12.51, 14.84, and 15.16% for the corresponding soils.


Greater soil cation exchange capacity and exchangeable base cations led to lower critical soil pH and higher critical soil exchangeable Al and Al saturation for maize.


Al saturation Alfisol Critical soil pH Maize Soil acidity Ultisol 



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.

Funding information

This study was supported by the National Key Basic Research Program of China (grant number: 2014CB441003) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number: 41230855).


  1. Adams F (1984) Soil acidity and liming. 2nd Edn., Am. Soc. Agron., Crop Sci. Soc. Am. and Soil Sci. Soc. Am., Madison, WI, USAGoogle Scholar
  2. Alekseeva T, Alekseev A, Xu RK, Zhao AZ, Kalinin P (2011) Effect of soil acidification induced by the tea plantation on chemical and mineralogical properties of yellow brown earth in Nanjing (China). Environ Geochem Health 33(2):137–148. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baquy M, Li JY, Xu CY, Mehmood K, Xu RK (2017) Determination of critical pH and Al concentration of acidic Ultisols for wheat and canola crops. Solid Earth 8(1):149–159. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barcelo J, Poschenrieder C (2002) Fast root growth responses, root exudates, and internal detoxification as clues to the mechanisms of aluminium toxicity and resistance: a review. Environ Exp Bot 48(1):75–92. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bertsch PM, Bloom PR (1996) Aluminum. In: Sparks DL (ed) Methods of soil analysis. Part 3-chemical methods. Soil Science Society of America; American Society of Agronomy, MadisonGoogle Scholar
  6. Bolan NS, Naidu R, Syers JK, Tillman RW (1999) Surface charge and solute interactions in soils. Adv Agron 67:87–140.
  7. Brown TT, Koenig RT, Huggins DR, Harsh JB, Rossi RE (2008) Lime effects on soil acidity, crop yield, and aluminum chemistry in direct-seeded cropping systems. Soil Sci Soc Am J 72(3):634–640. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cerda A, Gonzalez-Pelayo O, Gimenez-Morera A, Jordan A, Pereira P, Novara A, Brevik EC, Prosdocimi M, Mahmoodabadi M, Keesstra S (2016) Use of barley straw residues to avoid high erosion and runoff rates on persimmon plantations in eastern Spain under low frequency-high magnitude simulated rainfall events. Soil Res 54(2):154–165. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chartres CJ, Cumming RW, Beattie JA, Bowman GM, Wood JT (1990) Acidification of soils on a transect from plains to slopes, south-western new-south-wales. Aust J Soil Res 28(4):539–548. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Evans CE, Kamprath EJ (1970) Lime response as related to percent Al saturation, solution Al, and organic matter content. Soil Sci Soc Am J 34(6):893–896. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fageria NK, Baligar VC (2008) Ameliorating soil acidity of tropical Oxisols by liming for sustainable crop production. Adv Agron 99:345–399. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fageria NK, Baligar VC (2003) Fertility management of tropical acid soils for sustainable crop production. In: Rengel Z (ed) Handbook of soil acidity. Marcel Dekker, New York, pp 359–385Google Scholar
  13. Guo JH, Liu XJ, Zhang Y, Shen JL, Han WX, Zhang WF, Christie P, Goulding KWT, Vitousek PM, Zhang FS (2010) Significant acidification in major Chinese croplands. Science 327(5968):1008–1010. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Havlin JL, Beaton JD, Nelson WL, Tisdale SL (2005) Soil fertility and fertilizers: an introduction to nutrient management. Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle RiverGoogle Scholar
  15. Hseung Y, Li Q (1990) Soils of China. Science Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  16. Huang PM (1997) Mechanism of soil acidification. In: Dahama AK (ed) Agro’s Ann. Rev. of crop ecology. Agro Botanica, Bikaner, pp 79–100Google Scholar
  17. Jiang J, Xu RK, Zhao AZ (2010) Comparison of the surface chemical properties of four variable charge soils derived from quaternary red earth as related to soil evolution. Catena 80(3):154–161. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Johnson JP Jr, Carver BF, Baligar VC (1997) Productivity in great plains acid soils of wheat genotypes selected for aluminium tolerance. Plant Soil 188(1):101–106. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jones DL, Kochian LV (1995) Aluminum inhibition of the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate signal-transduction pathway in wheat roots—a role in aluminum toxicity. Plant Cell 7(11):1913–1922. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Joris HAW, Caires EF, Bini AR, Scharr DA, Haliski A (2013) Effects of soil acidity and water stress on corn and soybean performance under a no-till system. Plant Soil 365(1-2):409–424. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kariuki SK, Zhang H, Schroder JL, Edwards J, Payton M, Carver BF, Raun WR, Krenzer EG (2007) Hard red winter wheat cultivar responses to a pH and aluminum concentration gradient. Agron J 99(1):88–98. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Keesstra SD, Geissen V, Mosse K, Piirainen S, Scudiero E, Leistra M, van Schaik L (2012) Soil as a filter for groundwater quality. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 4(5):507–516. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kinraide TB, Parker DR (1989) Assessing the phytotoxicity of mononuclear hydroxy-aluminum. Plant Cell Environ 12(5):479–487. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Klages MG, Hopper RW (1982) Clay-minerals in northern plants coal overburden as measured by X-ray-diffraction. Soil Sci Soc Am J 46(2):415–419. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kochian LV (1995) Cellular mechanisms of aluminum toxicity and resistance in plants. Annu Rev Plant Physiol Plant Molec Biol 46(1):237–260. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kochian LV, Hoekenga OA, Pineros MA (2004) How do crop plants tolerate acid soils?—mechanisms of aluminum tolerance and phosphorous efficiency. Annu Rev Plant Biol 55(1):459–493. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Krug EC, Frink CR (1983) Acid rain on acid soil—a new perspective. Science 221(4610):520–525. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kunert KJ, Vorster BJ, Fenta BA, Kibido T, Dionisio G, Foyer CH (2016) Drought stress responses in soybean roots and nodules. Front Plant Sci 7.
  29. Li JY, Wang N, Xu RK, Tiwari D (2010) Potential of industrial byproducts in ameliorating acidity and aluminum toxicity of soils under tea plantation. Pedosphere 20(5):645–654. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Liu Y, Xu RK (2015) The forms and distribution of aluminum adsorbed onto maize and soybean roots. J Soils Sediments 15(3):491–502. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lollato RP, Edwards JT, Zhang H (2013) Effect of alternative soil acidity amelioration strategies on soil pH distribution and wheat agronomic response. Soil Sci Soc Am J 77(5):1831–1841. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Merino-Gergichevich C, Alberdi M, Ivanov AG, Reyes-Diaz M (2010) Al3+-Ca2+ interaction in plants growing in acid soils: Al-phytotoxicity response to calcareous amendments. J Soil Sci Plant Nutr 10:217–243Google Scholar
  33. Muluneh A, Biazin B, Stroosnijder L, Bewket W, Keesstra S (2015) Impact of predicted changes in rainfall and atmospheric carbon dioxide on maize and wheat yields in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. Reg Environ Chang 15(6):1105–1119. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pansu M, Gautheyrou J (2006) Handbook of soil analysis—mineralogical, organic and inorganic methods. Springer, Berlin. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Poolpipatana S, Hue NV (1994) Differential acidity tolerance of tropical legumes grown for green manure in acid sulfate soils. Plant Soil 163(1):131–139. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Prosdocimi M, Jordan A, Tarolli P, Keesstra S, Novara A, Cerda A (2016) The immediate effectiveness of barley straw mulch in reducing soil erodibility and surface runoff generation in Mediterranean vineyards. Sci Total Environ 547:323–330. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rengel Z, Bose J, Chen Q, Tripathi BN (2015) Magnesium alleviates plant toxicity of aluminium and heavy metals. Crop Past Sci 66(12):1298–1307. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rengel Z, Zhang WH (2003) Role of dynamics of intracellular calcium in aluminium-toxicity syndrome. New Phytol 159(2):295–314. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Reuss JO, Johnson DW (1986) Acid deposition and the acidification of soils and waters. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rouphael Y, Cardarelli M, Colla G (2015) Role of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in alleviating the adverse effects of acidity and aluminium toxicity in zucchini squash. Sci Hortic 188:97–105. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schroder JL, Zhang HL, Girma K, Raun WR, Penn CJ, Payton ME (2011) Soil acidification from long-term use of nitrogen fertilizers on winter wheat. Soil Sci Soc Am J 75(3):957–964. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Singh S, Tripathi DK, Singh S, Sharma S, Dubey NK, Chauhan DK, Vaculík M (2017) Toxicity of aluminium on various levels of plant cells and organism: a review. Environ Exp Bot 137:177–193. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ulrich B, Sumner ME (1991) Soil acidity. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. van Breemen N, Driscoll CT, Mulder J (1984) Acidic deposition and internal proton sources in acidification of soils and waters. Nature 307(5952):599–604. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. van Ranst E, Qafoku NP, Noble A, Xu RK (2017) Variable charge soils: mineralogy and chemistry. In: Lal R (ed) Encyclopedia of soil science, 3rd edn. Taylor & Francis, Oxford, pp 2432–2439Google Scholar
  46. Vonuexkull HR, Mutert E (1995) Global extent, development and economic-impact of acid soils. Plant Soil 171(1):1–15. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wallace SU, Anderson IC (1984) Aluminum toxicity and dna-synthesis in wheat roots. Agron J 76(1):5–8. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Xie LW, Zhong J, Chen FF, Cao FX, Li JJ, Wu LC (2015) Evaluation of soil fertility in the succession of karst rocky desertification using principal component analysis. Solid Earth 6(2):515–524. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Xu RK, Coventry DR (2003) Soil pH changes associated with lupin and wheat plant materials incorporated in a red-brown earth soil. Plant Soil 250(1):113–119. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Xu RK, Coventry DR, Farhoodi A, Schultz JE (2002) Soil acidification as influenced by crop rotations, stubble management, and application of nitrogenous fertiliser, Tarlee, South Australia. Aust J Soil Res 40(3):483–496. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Yan X, Cai YL (2015) Multi-scale anthropogenic driving forces of karst rocky desertification in southwest china. Land Degrad Dev 26(2):193–200. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Yu F, Roiloa SR, Alpert P (2016) Editorial: global change, clonal growth, and biological invasions by plants. Front Plant Sci 7.
  53. Yu TR (1997) Chemistry of variable charge soils. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  54. Zhang XB, Liu P, Yang Y, Xu GD (2007) Effect of Al in soil on photosynthesis and related morphological and physiological characteristics of two soybean genotypes. Bot Stud 48:435–444Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Abdulaha-Al Baquy
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jiu-Yu Li
    • 1
  • Jun Jiang
    • 1
  • Khalid Mehmood
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ren-Yong Shi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ren-Kou Xu
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.College of Resources and EnvironmentUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations