Journal of Arid Land

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 217–232 | Cite as

Potassium forms in calcareous soils as affected by clay minerals and soil development in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, Southwest Iran

  • Sirous Shakeri
  • Seyed A. Abtahi


Potassium (K) is known as one of the essential nutrients for the growth of plant species. The relationship between K and clay minerals can be used to understand the K cycling, and assess the plant uptake and potential of soil K fertility. This study was conducted to analyze the K forms (soluble, exchangeable, non-exchangeable and structural) and the relationship of K forms with clay minerals of calcareous soils in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, Southwest Iran. The climate is hotter and drier in the west and south of the province than in the east and north of the province. A total of 54 pedons were dug in the study area and 32 representative pedons were selected. The studied pedons were mostly located on calcareous deposits. The soils in the study area can be classified into 5 orders including Entisols, Inceptisols, Mollisols, Alfisols and Vertisols. The main soil clay minerals in the west and south of the study area were illite, chlorite and palygorskite, whereas they were smectite, vermiculite and illite in the north and east of the province. Due to large amount of smectite and high content of organic carbon in soil surface, the exchangeable K in surface soils was higher than that in subsurface soils. It seems that organic matter plays a more important role than smectite mineral in retaining exchangeable K in the studied soils. Non-exchangeable K exhibited close relationships with clay content, illite, vermiculite and smectite. Although the amount of illite was the same in almost all pedons, amounts of structural and non-exchangeable K were higher in humid regions than in arid and semi-arid regions. This difference may be related to the poor reservoir of K+ minerals like palygorskite and chlorite together with illite in arid and semi-arid regions. In humid areas, illite was accompanied by vermiculite and smectite as the K+ reservoir. Moreover, the mean cumulative non-exchangeable K released by CaCl2 was higher than that released by oxalic acid, which may be due to the high buffering capacity resulting from high carbonates in soils.


clay minerals potassium forms calcareous soils oxalic acid K+ reservoir Iran 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



The authors appreciate Shiraz University for providing research facilities.


  1. Abtahi A. 1977. Effect of a saline and alkaline ground water on soil genesis in semiarid southern Iran. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 41(3): 583–588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abtahi A. 1980. Soil genesis as affected by topography and time in highly calcareous parent materials under semiarid conditions in Iran. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 44(2): 329–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anil S, Vikas S, Sanjay A, et al. 2016. Potassium fixation capabilities of some inceptisols belonging to plain and sub-mountainous region. Journal of the Indian Society of Soil Science, 64(4): 368–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barré P, Montagnier C, Chenu C, et al. 2008. Clay minerals as a soil potassium reservoir: observation and quantification through X-ray diffraction. Plant and Soil, 302(1–2): 213–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bhonsle N S, Pal S K, Sekhon G S. 1992. Relationship of K forms and release characteristics with clay mineralogy. Geoderma, 54(1–4): 285–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blanchet G, Libohova Z, Joost S, et al. 2017. Spatial variability of potassium in agricultural soils of the canton of Fribourg, Switzerland. Geoderma, 290: 107–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bouyoucos G J. 1962. Hydrometer method improved for making particle size analyses of soils. Agronomy Journal, 57(5): 464–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Buckley D E, Cranston R E. 1971. Atomic absorption analyses of 18 elements from a single decomposition of aluminosilicate. Chemical Geology, 7(4): 273–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chapman H D. 1965. Cation-exchange capacity. In: Black C A. Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 2. Chemical and Microbiological Properties. Madison, WI: Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, 891–901.Google Scholar
  10. Conyers E S, McLean E O. 1969. Plant uptake and chemical extractions for evaluating potassium release characteristics of soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 33(2): 226–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ghosh B N, Singh R D. 2001. Potassium release characteristics of some soils of Uttar Pradesh hills varying in altitude and their relationship with forms of soil K and clay mineralogy. Geoderma, 104(1–2): 135–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hashemi S S, Abbaslou H. 2016. Potassium reserves in soils with arid and semi-arid climate in southern Iran: a perspective based on potassium fixation. Iran Agricultural Research, 35(2): 88–95.Google Scholar
  13. Hayashi K, Makino N, Shobatake K, et al. 2014. Influence of scenario uncertainty in agricultural inputs on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production systems: the case of chemical fertilizers in Japan. Journal of Cleaner Production, 73: 109–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hosseinpur A R, Sinegani A A S. 2007. Soil potassium–release characteristics and the correlation of its parameters with garlic plant indices. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 38(1–2): 107–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Islam A, Saha P K, Biswas J C, et al. 2016. Potassium fertilization in intensive wetland rice system: yield, potassium use efficiency and soil potassium status. International Journal of Agricultural Paper, 1(2): 7–21.Google Scholar
  16. Jackson M L. 1975. Soil Chemical Analysis: Advanced Course. Madison, WI: Department of Soils, College of Agriculture, University Wisconsin, 27–224.Google Scholar
  17. Jalali M. 2006. Kinetics of non-exchangeable potassium release and availability in some calcareous soils of western Iran. Geoderma, 135: 63–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jalali M, Zarabi M. 2006. Kinetics of nonexchangeable–potassium release and plant response in some calcareous soils. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 169(2): 196–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Johns W D, Grim R E, Bradley F. 1954. Quantitative estimations of clay minerals by diffraction methods. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 24(4): 242–251.Google Scholar
  20. Khademi H, Mermut A R. 1998. Source of palygorskite in gypsiferous Aridisols and associated sediments from central Iran. Clay Minerals, 33(4): 561–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Khormali F, Abtahi A. 2003. Origin and distribution of clay minerals in calcareous arid and semi-arid soils of Fars Province, southern Iran. Clay Minerals, 38(4): 511–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kirkman J H, Basker A, Surapaneni A, et al. 1994. Potassium in the Soils of New Zealand—a review. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research, 37(2): 207–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kittrick J A, Hope E W. 1963. A procedure for the particle-size separation of soils for X-ray diffraction analysis. Soil Science, 96(5): 312–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Komadel P, Madejová J, Stucki J W. 2006. Structural Fe (III) reduction in smectites. Applied Clay Science, 34(1–4): 88–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Li Q X, Jia Z Q, Liu T, et al. 2017. Effects of different plantation types on soil properties after vegetation restoration in an alpine sandy land on the Tibetan Plateau, China. Journal of Arid Land, 9(2): 200–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Loeppert R H, Suarez D L. 1996. Carbonate and gypsum. In: Sparks D L. Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 3. Chemical Methods. Madison, WI: Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, 437–474.Google Scholar
  27. Martin H W, Sparks D L. 1983. Kinetics of nonexchangeable potassium release from two coastal plain soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 47(5): 883–887.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McLean E O, Watson M E. 1985. Soil measurements of plant-available potassium. In: Munson R D. Potassium in Agriculture. Madison, WI: Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, 277–308.Google Scholar
  29. Mehra O P, Jackson M L. 1960. Iron oxide removal from soils and clays by a dithionite-citrate system buffered with sodium bicarbonate. In: Swineford A. Clays and Clays Minerals. Washington, DC: Pergamon Press, 317–327.Google Scholar
  30. Mengel K, Kirkby E A. 2001. Principles of Plant Nutrition. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 481–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mengel K. 2006. Potassium. In: Barker A V, Pilbeam D J. Handbook of Plant Nutrition. London: Taylor and Francis Group, 91–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Moterle D F, Kaminski J, dos Santos Rheinheimer D, et al. 2016. Impact of potassium fertilization and potassium uptake by plants on soil clay mineral assemblage in South Brazil. Plant and Soil, 406(1–2): 157–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nabiollahy K, Khormali F, Bazargan K, et al. 2006. Forms of K as a function of clay mineralogy and soil development. Clay Minerals, 41(3): 739–749.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Najafi Ghiri M, Abtahi A, Jaberian F, et al. 2010. Relationship between soil potassium forms and mineralogy in highly calcareous soils of southern Iran. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 4(3): 434–441.Google Scholar
  35. Nelson D W, Sommers L E. 1996. Total carbon, organic carbon, and organic matter. In: Sparks D L. Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 3. Chemical Methods. Madison, WI: Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, 961–1010.Google Scholar
  36. Owliaie H R, Abtahi A, Heck R J. 2006. Pedogenesis and clay mineralogical investigation of soils formed on gypsiferous and calcareous materials, on a transect, southwestern Iran. Geoderma, 134(1–2): 62–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pratt P F. 1965. Potassium. In: Black C A. Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 2. Chemical and Microbiological Properties. Madison, WI: Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, 1022–1030Google Scholar
  38. Raheb A, Heidari A. 2012. Effects of clay mineralogy and physico-chemical properties on potassium availability under soil aquic conditions. Journal of Soil science and Plant Nutrition, 12(4): 747–761.Google Scholar
  39. Rees G L, Pettygrove G S, Southard R J. 2013. Estimating plant-available potassium in potassium-fixing soils. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 44(1–4): 741–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Richards L A. 1954. Diagnosis and Improvement of Saline and Alkali Soils (Handbook No. 60). Washington: United States Salinity Laboratory, 1–160.Google Scholar
  41. Schindler F V, Woodard H W, Doolittle J J. 2003. Reduction–oxidation effects on soil potassium and plant uptake. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 34(9–10): 1407–1419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sharpley A N. 1989. Relationship between soil potassium forms and mineralogy. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 53(4): 1023–1028.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Soil Survey Staff. 2014. Keys to Soil Taxonomy (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: USDA, NRCS, 43–316.Google Scholar
  44. Sparks D L, Huang P M. 1985. Physical chemistry of soil potassium. In: Munson R D. Potassium in Agriculture. Madison, WI: Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, 201–276.Google Scholar
  45. Sparks D L. 2000. Bioavailability of soil potassium. In: Sumner M E. Handbook of Soil Science. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 38–52.Google Scholar
  46. Tan D S, Liu Z H, Jiang L H, et al. 2017. Long-term potash application and wheat straw return reduced soil potassium fixation and affected crop yields in North China. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 108(2): 121–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Tu S X, Guo Z F, Sun J H. 2007. Effect of oxalic acid on potassium release from typical Chinese soils and minerals. Pedosphere, 17(4): 457–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wani M A. 2012. Oxalic acid effect on potassium release from typical rice soils of Kashmir. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 43(8): 1136–1148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wood R A, Schroeder B L. 1991. Release of non-exchangeable potassium reserves from a range of sugar industry soils. Proceedings of The South African Sugar Technologists' Association, 65: 47–52.Google Scholar
  50. Xie Q Q, Chen T H, Zhou H, et al. 2013. Mechanism of palygorskite formation in the Red Clay Formation on the Chinese Loess Plateau, northwest China. Geoderma, 192: 39–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zhan L P, Li X K, Lu J W, et al. 2014. Potassium fixation and release characteristics of several normal and K-exhausted soils in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtse River, China. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 45(22): 2921–2931.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Zhang Y G, Yang S, Fu M M, et al. 2015. Sheep manure application increases soil exchangeable base cations in a semi-arid steppe of Inner Mongolia. Journal of Arid Land, 7(3): 361–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AgriculturePayame Noor UniversityTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Soil Science, College of AgricultureShiraz UniversityShirazIran

Personalised recommendations