Encyclopedia of Soil Science

2008 Edition
| Editors: Ward Chesworth

Potassium cycle

  • George R. Blake
  • Gary C. Steinhardt
  • X. Pontevedra Pombal
  • J. C. Nóvoa Muñoz
  • A. Martínez Cortizas
  • R. W. Arnold
  • Randall J. Schaetzl
  • F. Stagnitti
  • J.‐Y. Parlange
  • T. S. Steenhuis
  • Ward Chesworth
  • Y. Mualem
  • H. J. Morel‐Seytoux
  • Otto Spaargaren
  • Ward Chesworth
  • Y. K. Soon
  • D. S. Orlov
  • Otto Spaargaren
  • J. J. Oertli
  • Jan Gliński
  • Jerzy Lipiec
  • Witold Stępniewski
  • Otto Spaargaren
  • Otto Spaargaren
  • Ward Chesworth
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-3995-9_461

Potassium is one of the major nutritional elements in soil, Sparks and Huang (1985) describe its role in the biosphere as ‘prodigious’. Its chemical symbol K is taken from Kalium, the German term for the element, derived from the word alkali. K influences the osmotic relations between plant and soil, functions in respiration and photosynthesis, and is an enzyme activator.

The word alkali was introduced by the Arabs to signify the ash of vegetable matter. Incineration of marine vegetation yields predominantly sodium carbonate, while terrestrial vegetation gives potassium carbonate. It was not until the eighteenth century that the two were distinguished from each other. Together they were considered fixed alkali, by contrast to ammonium carbonate, which was called volatile alkali. A further distinction was made by the Arabs between mild alkali (carbonate) and caustic alkali (hydroxide). Davy isolated the element potassium electrochemically in 1807 and derived its name from “pot ashes”,...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Bibliography

  1. Bowers, T.S., Jackson, K.J., and Helgeson, H.C., 1984. Equilibrium Activity Diagrams: for Coexisting Minerals and Aqueous Solutions at Pressures and Temperatures to 5 kb and 600 °C. Berlin: Springer, 397 pp.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. International Fertilizer Industry Association. 2006. Accessed at http://www.fertilizer.org/ifa/statistics/indicators/tablek.asp.
  3. Macias‐Vazquez, F., Fernandez‐Marcos, M‐L., and Chesworth, W., 1987. Transformations mineralogiques dans les sols podzoliques de Galice (N.W. Espagne). In Righi, D., and Chauvel, A., eds., Podzols et Podzolization. Paris: AFES‐INRA, pp. 163–177.Google Scholar
  4. Sparks, D.L., and Huang, P.M., 1985. Physical chemistry of soil potassium. In Munson, R.D., ed., Potassium in Agriculture. Madison, WI: Soil Science Society of America, pp. 201–276.Google Scholar
  5. USGS, 2006. Mineral Commodity Summaries. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, U.S. Geological Survey. 199 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • George R. Blake
  • Gary C. Steinhardt
  • X. Pontevedra Pombal
  • J. C. Nóvoa Muñoz
  • A. Martínez Cortizas
  • R. W. Arnold
  • Randall J. Schaetzl
  • F. Stagnitti
  • J.‐Y. Parlange
  • T. S. Steenhuis
  • Ward Chesworth
  • Y. Mualem
  • H. J. Morel‐Seytoux
  • Otto Spaargaren
  • Ward Chesworth
  • Y. K. Soon
  • D. S. Orlov
  • Otto Spaargaren
  • J. J. Oertli
  • Jan Gliński
  • Jerzy Lipiec
  • Witold Stępniewski
  • Otto Spaargaren
  • Otto Spaargaren
  • Ward Chesworth

There are no affiliations available