Surface area of soils of contrasting mineralogies using para-nitrophenol adsorption and its relation to air-dry moisture content of soils
C. B. Hedley, S. Saggar, B. K. G. Theng and J. S. Whitton
Australian Journal of Soil Research
38(1) 155 - 168
The specific surface area (SSA) of a range of soils has been measured by adsorption of para-nitrophenol (pNP). These surface soils are representative of the major soil groups of New Zealand, varying in mineralogy, clay and organic carbon contents, and cation exchange capacity (CEC). All of the soils are under pastures of introduced grasses and legumes that have been regularly fertilised and grazed. The SSAs measured by pNP are compared with the values calculated from the clay content, clay mineral composition, and organic carbon content of the soils. Measured SSAs are also related to the air-dry soil moisture contents.
There is a good 1:1 relation between measured and calculated SSAs. This correspondence improves when allophanic and smectitic soils are omitted from the relation. The SSAs measured by pNP are also well correlated with the air-dry moisture content and CEC of the soils. When allophanic soils are excluded, a highly significant correlation (r = 0.894; P < 0.001) is obtained between pNP surface area and moisture content of the air-dry soils. When the same relation is applied to an independent set of soils, 89% of the variations in SSA can be accounted for. We suggest that the SSAs of many soils can be reasonably deduced from their air-dry moisture content.Keywords: specific surface area, topsoils, clay mineralogy, cation exchange capacity.
Full text doi:10.1071/SR99057
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