Transport of iodide in structured clay-loam soil under maize during irrigation experiments analyzed using HYDRUS model

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Abstract

Transport of radioactive iodide 131I in a structured clay loam soil under maize in a final growing phase was monitored during five consecutive irrigation experiments under ponding. Each time, 27 mm of water were applied. The water of the second experiment was spiked with 200 MBq of 131I tracer. Its activity was monitored as functions of depth and time with Geiger-Müller (G-M) detectors in 11 vertically installed access tubes. The aim of the study was to widen our current knowledge of water and solute transport in unsaturated soil under different agriculturally cultivated settings. It was supposed that the change in 131I activity (or counting rate) is proportional to the change in soil water content. Rapid increase followed by a gradual decrease in 131I activity occurred at all depths and was attributed to preferential flow. The iodide transport through structured soil profile was simulated by the HYDRUS 1D model. The model predicted relatively deep percolation of iodide within a short time, in a good agreement with the observed vertical iodide distribution in soil. We found that the top 30 cm of the soil profile is the most vulnerable layer in terms of water and solute movement, which is the same depth where the root structure of maize can extend.

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Correspondence to Agota Horel.

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Horel, A., Lichner, Ľ., Alaoui, A. et al. Transport of iodide in structured clay-loam soil under maize during irrigation experiments analyzed using HYDRUS model. Biologia 69, 1531–1538 (2014). https://doi.org/10.2478/s11756-014-0465-6

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Key words

  • HYDRUS 1D model
  • infiltration
  • field tracer experiment
  • structured clay loam soil
  • preferential flow