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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Acidity control in Latosols under long-term pastures in the Cerrado region, Brazil

P. R. S. Vendrame A F , O. R. Brito B , E. S. Martins C , C. Quantin D , M. F. Guimarães B and T. Becquer E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Geosciences, State University of Londrina, 86051-970, Londrina, PR, Brazil.

B Department of Agronomy, State University of Londrina, 86051-970, Londrina, PR, Brazil.

C Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa Cerrados), BR 020, km 18, 73310-970, Planaltina, DF, Brazil.

D UMR 8148 IDES, Univ. Paris Sud - CNRS, 91405 Orsay Cedex, France.

E IRD, UMR 210 Eco&Sols, 2 Place Viala, F-34060 Montpellier Cedex 2, France.

F Corresponding author. Email: vendrame@uel.br

Soil Research 51(4) 253-261 https://doi.org/10.1071/SR12214
Submitted: 1 August 2012  Accepted: 9 June 2013   Published: 24 July 2013

Abstract

High acidity and aluminium saturation are among the main limiting factors for crop production in tropical soils. The aim of this work was to measure the acidity of Latosols under pastures in the Brazilian Cerrado and to assess the influence of clay mineralogy as a controlling parameter of soil acidity. Topsoils (n = 73, 0–0.2 m depth) of Latosols developed on different parent materials were sampled in two sub-regions of the Cerrado region. The main chemical characteristics were determined by standard procedures, and kaolinite and gibbsite contents were determined by dissolution with sulfuric acid and thermogravimetric analyses. The exchangeable concentrations of calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and potassium (K) varied considerably among soil samples, with ranges of 0–13.9 cmolc kg–1 (mean ± standard deviation 1.77 ± 1.91 cmolc kg–1) for Ca; 0.2–3.2 cmolc kg–1 (1.13 ± 0.68 cmolc kg–1) for Mg; and 0–1.0 cmolc kg–1 (0.24 ± 0.24 cmolc kg–1) for K. The mean concentration of exchangeable aluminium (Al) was 0.55 ± 0.61 cmolc kg–1 (range 0–2.3 cmolc kg–1). The content of kaolinite (282 ± 96 g kg–1) was higher than of gibbsite (106 ± 77 g kg–1). The amount of exchangeable Al and Al saturation rate varied according to the mineralogy of the clay fraction of the soils. The content of exchangeable Al3+ remained low when gibbsite was the predominant mineral, whereas it increased with kaolinite content. The ratio kaolinite/(kaolinite + gibbsite) could be used as a useful indicator of the sensitivity of soils affected by acidity and Al toxicity.

Additional keywords: Brazilian Cerrado soils, gibbsite, kaolinite, protonation, soil acidification.


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