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Clay minerals as a soil potassium reservoir: observation and quantification through X-ray diffraction

Abstract : Potassium (K) is a major element for plant growth. The K+ ions fixed in soil 2:1 clay mineral interlayers contribute to plant K nutrition. Such clay minerals are most often the majority in temperate soils. Field and laboratory observations based on X-ray diffraction techniques suggest that 2:1 clay minerals behave as a K reservoir. The present work investigated this idea through data from a replicated long term fertilization experiment which allowed one to address the following questions: (1) Do fertilization treatments induce some modifications (as seen from X-ray diffraction measurements) on soil 2:1 clay mineralogy? (2) Are soil 2:1 clay mineral modifications related to soil K budget in the different plots? (3) Do fertilizer treatments modify clay Al, Si, Mg, Fe or K elemental content? (4) Are clay mineral modifications related to clay K content modifications? (5) Are clay mineral changes related to clay Al, Si, Mg or Fe content as well as those of K content? Our results showed that K fertilization treatments considered in the context of soil K budget are very significantly related to 2:1 soil clay mineralogy and clay K content. The 2:1 clay mineral modifications observed through X-ray measurements were quantitatively correlated with chemically analyzed clay K content. Clay K content modifications are independent from clay Al, Si, Mg or Fe contents. These results show that the soil chemical environment can modify interlayer site occupations (illite content) which suggests that high level accumulation of potassium can occur without any modification of the clay sheet structure. This study therefore validates the view of 2:1 clay minerals as a K reservoir easily quantifiable through X-ray observations.
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Contributor : Pierre Barré <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, November 25, 2008 - 3:57:06 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 2:56:33 PM


  • HAL Id : bioemco-00341620, version 1
  • PRODINRA : 250175


Pierre Barré, Christophe Montagnier, Claire Chenu, Luc Abbadie, Bruce Velde. Clay minerals as a soil potassium reservoir: observation and quantification through X-ray diffraction. Plant and Soil, Springer Verlag, 2008, 302, pp.213-220. ⟨bioemco-00341620⟩



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