Encyclopedia of Soil Science

2008 Edition
| Editors: Ward Chesworth


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-3995-9_14

The concentration and bonding of a substance to the surface of a second substance. The bonding is relatively weak and temporary, as for example the adsorption of nutrient ions to clay particles in a soil. The materials in the soil that are capable of adsorbing are known collectively as the adsorption complex. The amount of a chemical species taken up by the adsorption complex at a given temperature may be plotted against the concentration of that species in the co‐existing aqueous solution. The resulting graph is called an adsorption isotherm (McBride, 1994, p. 344–345).



  1. McBride, M.B., 1994. Environmental Chemistry of Soils. New York: Oxford University Press, 406 pp.Google Scholar

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