Soil Research Soil Research Society
Soil, land care and environmental research
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Simulated rainwater effects on anion exchange capacity and nitrate retention in Ferrosols

M. J. Donn A and N. W. Menzies A B

A School of Land and Food Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: n.menzies@uq.edu.au

Australian Journal of Soil Research 43(1) 33-42 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SR04015
Submitted: 5 February 2004  Accepted: 1 September 2004   Published: 14 February 2005

Abstract

Nitrate (NO3) accumulations (up to 1880 kg NO3-N/ha for a 12-m profile) in the soils of the Johnstone River catchment (JRC) may pose a serious environmental threat to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon if the NO3 were released. The leaching of artificial rainwater through repacked soil columns was investigated to determine the effect of low NO3/low ionic strength inputs on the NO3 chemistry of the JRC profiles. Repacked soil columns were used to simulate the 11.5-m profiles, and the soil solution anion and cation concentrations were monitored at 10 points throughout the soil column. As the rainwater was applied, NO3 leached down the profile, with substantial quantities exiting the columns. Anion exchange was discounted as the major mechanism of NO3 release due to the substantial net loss of anions from the system (up to 2740 kg NO3-N/ha over the experimental period). As the soils were dominated by variable charge minerals, the effect of changing pH and ionic strength on the surface charge density was investigated in relation to the release of NO3 from the exchange. It was concluded that the equilibration of the soil solution with the low ionic strength rainwater solution resulted in a lessening of both the positive and negative surface charge. Nitrate was released into the soil solution and subsequently leached due to the lessening of the positive surface charge. Loss of NO3 from the soil profile was slow, with equivalent field release times estimated to be tens of years. Although annual release rates were high in absolute terms (up to 175 kg NO3-N/ha.year), they are only slightly greater than the current loss rates from fertilised sugarcane production (up to 50 kg NO3-N/ha.year). In addition to this, the large-scale release of NO3 from the accumulations will only occur until a new equilibrium is established with the input rainwater solution.

Additional keywords: ionic strength, pH, variable charge, chloride.


References

Aitken RL Moody PW McKinley PG 1990 Lime requirement of acidic Queensland soils. I. Relationships between soil properties and pH buffer capacity. Australian Journal of Soil Research 28 695 701

Anon. 1971 ‘Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater.’ American Public Health Association-American Water Works Association-Water Environment Federation Washington, DC


Anon. 1995 ‘Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater.’ American Public Health Association-American Water Works Association-Water Environment Federation Washington, DC


Anon. 2001 Great Barrier Reef catchment water quality action plan. A report to ministerial council on targets for pollutant loads, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Townsville, Qld.


Ayers GP Manton MJ 1991 Rainwater composition at 2 BAPMoN regional stations in SE Australia. Tellus. Series B, Chemical and Physical Meteorology 43 379 389


Barber RG Rowell DL 1972 Charge distribution and the cation exchange capacity of an iron-rich kaolinitic soil. Journal of Soil Science 23 135 146


Black AS Campbell AS 1982 Ionic strength of soil solution and its effect on charge properties of some New Zealand soils. Journal of Soil Science 33 249 262


Black AS Waring SA 1979 Adsorption of nitrate, chloride and sulfate by some highly weathered soils from South-east Queensland. Australian Journal of Soil Research 17 271 282


Bolan NS Naidu R Syers JK Tillman RW 1999 Surface charge and solute interactions in soils. Advances in Agronomy 67 87 140


Bristow KL Thornburn PJ Sweeney CA Bohl HP 1998 Water and nitrogen balance in natural and agricultural systems in the wet tropics of north Queensland: a review. Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation, Canberra, ACT.


Bruce RC Warrell LA Bell LC Edwards DG 1989 Chemical attributes of some Queensland acid soils. I. Solid and solution phase compositions. Australian Journal of Soil Research 27 333 351


Cahn MD Bouldin DR Cravo MS 1992 Nitrate sorption in the profile of an acid soil. Plant and Soil 143 179 183


Curtin D Syers JK 1990 Influence of nitrate and chloride on the adsorption and transport of sulphate in soils. Journal of Soil Science 41 433 442


Donn MJ Menzies NW Rasiah V 2004 Chemical characterisation of deep profile Ferrosols under sugarcane in wet tropical north Queensland. Australian Journal of Soil Research 42 69 77
DOI

Douglas I 1968 The effects of precipitation chemistry and catchment area lithology on the quality of river water in selected catchments in eastern Australia. Earth Science Journal 2 126 144

Dynia JF 2000 Nitrate retention and leaching in variable charge soils of a watershed in Sao Paulo State, Brazil. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 31 777 791


Gillman GP 1981 Effects of pH and ionic strength on the cation exchange capacity of soils with variable charge. Australian Journal of Soil Research 19 93 96


Gillman GP 1984 Using variable charge characteristics to understand the exchangeable cation status of Oxic soils. Australian Journal of Soil Research 22 71 80


Gillman GP Able DJ 1987 A summary of surface charge characteristics of the major soils of the Tully-Innisfail area, north Queensland. CSIRO Australia, Division of Soils, Divisional Report No. 85.


Gillman GP Bell LC 1978 Soil solution studies on weathered soils from tropical north Queensland. Australian Journal of Soil Research 16 67 77


Gillman GP Bristow KL 1990 Effect of surface application of urea, ammonium sulfate and lime on exchangeable cation distribution in an inceptisol in humid tropical Queensland. Australian Journal of Soil Research 28 39 53


Gillman GP Bristow KL Hallman MJ 1989 Leaching of applied calcium and potassium from an oxisol in humid Tropical Queensland. Australian Journal of Soil Research 27 183 198


Gillman GP Sumpter EA 1986 Surface charge characteristics and lime requirements of soils derived from basaltic, granitic, and metamorphic rocks in high-rainfall tropical Queensland. Australian Journal of Soil Research 24 173 192


Hingston FJ Posner AM Quirk JP 1972 Anion adsorption by goethite and gibbsite I. The role of the proton in determining adsorption envelopes. Journal of Soil Science 23 177 192


Isbell RF 1996 ‘The Australian Soil Classification.’ CSIRO Publishing Collingwood, Vic.


Isbell RF McDonald WS Ashton LJ 1997 Concepts and rationale of the Australian Soil Classification. Australian Collaborative Land Evaluation Program (ACLEP), Canberra, ACT.


Katou H Clothier BE Green SR 1996 Anion transport involving competitive adsorption during transient water flow in an Andisol. Soil Science Society of America Journal 60 1368 1375


Liu J Hue NV 2001 Amending subsoil acidity by surface applications of gypsum, lime, and composts. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 32 2117 2132
DOI

Ludwig B Holscher D Prenzel J Folster H 1997 Modelling of sorption experiments and seepage data of an Amazonian Ultisol subsoil under cropping fallow. Zeitschrift Fur Pflanzenernahrung Und Bodenkunde 160 447 454

Menzies N Guppy C 2000 In-situ soil solution extraction with polyacrylonitrile hollow-fibers. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 31 1875 1886


Menzies NW Bell LC 1988 Evaluation of the influence of sample preparation and extraction technique on soil solution composition. Australian Journal of Soil Research 26 451 464


Munns DN Fox RL 1977 Stabilization of calcium by surface charge variation in an oxisol. Soil Science Society of America Proceedings 41 682 685


Murtha GG 1986 Soils of the Tully-Innisfail area north Queensland. CSIRO Australia, Division of Soils, Divisional Report No.82.


van Olphen H 1977 ‘An introduction to clay colloid chemistry.’ Wiley-Interscience New York


Pachepsky YA Ivanova SA Korsunskaya LP Polubesova TA 1994 Adsorption of Cl, NO3 , and SO4 2– anions by krasnozems. Agrochimica 38 305 314


Rasiah V Armour JD 2001 Nitrate accumulation under cropping in the Ferrosols of far north Queensland wet tropics. Australian Journal of Soil Research 39 329 341
DOI

Rasiah V Armour JD Menzies NW Heiner DH Donn MJ Mahendrarajah S 2003 Nitrate retention under sugarcane in wet tropical Queensland deep soil profiles. Australian Journal of Soil Research 41 1145 1161

Soil Survey Staff 1998 ‘Key to Soil Taxonomy.’ Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture Washington, DC


Uehara G Gillman GP 1981 ‘The mineralogy, chemistry, and physics of tropical soils with variable charge clays.’ Westview Press Boulder, CO




Export Citation