Designing a reliable plant growth system for crop production in space requires the understanding of pore fluid distribution in porous media under microgravity. The objective of this experimental investigation, which was conducted aboard NASA KC-135 reduced gravity flight, is to study possible particle separation and the distribution of discontinuous wetting fluid in porous media under microgravity. KC-135 aircraft provided gravity conditions of 1, 1.8, and 10(-2) g. Glass beads of a known size distribution were used as porous media; and Hexadecane, a petroleum compound immiscible with and lighter than water, was used as wetting fluid at residual saturation. Nitrogen freezer was used to solidify the discontinuous Hexadecane ganglia in glass beads to preserve the ganglia size changes during different gravity conditions, so that the blob-size distributions (BSDs) could be measured after flight. It was concluded from this study that microgravity has little effect on the size distribution of pore fluid blobs corresponding to residual saturation of wetting fluids in porous media. The blobs showed no noticeable breakup or coalescence during microgravity. However, based on the increase in bulk volume of samples due to particle separation under microgravity, groups of particles, within which pore fluid blobs were encapsulated, appeared to have rearranged themselves under microgravity.
Humic acid (HA) is a relatively stable product of organic matter decomposition and thus accumulates in environmental systems. Humic acid might benefit plant growth by chelating unavailable nutrients and buffering pH. We examined the effect of HA on growth and micronutrient uptake in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grown hydroponically. Four root-zone treatments were compared: (i) 25 micromoles synthetic chelate N-(4-hydroxyethyl)ethylenediaminetriacetic acid (C10H18N2O7) (HEDTA at 0.25 mM C); (ii) 25 micromoles synthetic chelate with 4-morpholineethanesulfonic acid (C6H13N4S) (MES at 5 mM C) pH buffer; (iii) HA at 1 mM C without synthetic chelate or buffer; and (iv) no synthetic chelate or buffer. Ample inorganic Fe (35 micromoles Fe3+) was supplied in all treatments. There was no statistically significant difference in total biomass or seed yield among treatments, but HA was effective at ameliorating the leaf interveinal chlorosis that occurred during early growth of the nonchelated treatment. Leaf-tissue Cu and Zn concentrations were lower in the HEDTA treatment relative to no chelate (NC), indicating HEDTA strongly complexed these nutrients, thus reducing their free ion activities and hence, bioavailability. Humic acid did not complex Zn as strongly and chemical equilibrium modeling supported these results. Titration tests indicated that HA was not an effective pH buffer at 1 mM C, and higher levels resulted in HA-Ca and HA-Mg flocculation in the nutrient solution.
Mixtures of zeolite and phosphate rock (PR) have the potential to provide slow-release fertilization of plants in synthetic soils by dissolution and ion-exchange reactions. This study was conducted to examine solubility and cation-exchange relationships in mixtures of PR and NH4- and K-saturated clinoptilolite (Cp). Batch-equilibration experiments were designed to investigate the effect of PR source, the proportion of exchangeable K and NH4, and the Cp to PR ratio on solution N, P, K, and Ca concentrations. The dissolution and cation-exchange reactions that occurred after mixing NH4- and K-saturated Cp with PR increased the solubility of the PR and simultaneously released NH4 and K into solution. The more reactive North Carolina (NC) PR rendered higher solution concentrations of NH4 and K when mixed with Cp than did Tennessee (TN) PR. Solution P concentrations for the Cp-NC PR mixture and the Cp-TN PR mixture were similar. Solution concentrations of N, P, K, and Ca and the ratios of these nutrients in solution varied predictably with the type of PR, the Cp/PR ratio, and the proportions of exchangeable K and NH4 on the Cp. Our research indicated that slow-release fertilization using Cp/PR media may provide adequate levels of N, P, and K to support plant growth. Solution Ca concentrations were lower than optimum for plant growth.
Incorporation of Mg, S, and plant-essential micronutrients into the structure of synthetic hydroxyapatite (HA) may be advantageous for closed-loop systems, such as will be required on Lunar and Martian outposts, because these apatites can be used as slow-release fertilizers. Our objective was to synthesize HA with Ca, P, Mg, S, Fe, Cu, Mn, Zn, Mo, B, and Cl incorporated into the structure, i.e., nutrient-substituted apatites. Hydroxyapatite, carbonate hydroxyapatite (CHA), nutrient-substituted hydroxyapatite (NHA), and nutrient-substituted carbonate hydroxyapatite (NCHA) were synthesized by precipitating from solution. Chemical and mineralogical analysis of precipitated samples indicated a considerable fraction of the added cations were incorporated into HA, without mineral impurities. Particle size of the HA was in the 1 to 40 nm range, and decreased with increased substitution of nutrient elements. The particle shape of HA was elongated in the c-direction in unsubstituted HA and NHA but more spherical in CHA and NCHA. The substitution of cations and anions in the HA structure was confirmed by the decrease of the d spacing of HA with substitution of ions with an ionic radius less than that of Ca or P. The DTPA-extractable Cu ranged from 8 to 8429 mg kg-1, Zn ranged from 57 to 1279 mg kg-1, Fe from 211 to 2573 mg kg-1, and Mn from 190 to 1719 mg kg-1, depending on the substitution level of each element in HA. Nutrient-substituted HA has the potential to be used as a slow-release fertilizer to supply micronutrients, S, and Mg in addition to Ca and P.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Advanced Life Support (ALS) Program is evaluating the use of Fe-, Mn-, and Cu-containing synthetic hydroxyapatite (SHA) as a slow release fertilizer for crops that might be grown on the International Space Station or at Lunar and Martian outposts. Separate Fe-, Mn-, and Cu-containing SHA materials along with a transition-metal free SHA (pure-SHA) were synthesized using a precipitation method. Chemical and mineralogical analyses determined if and how Fe, Mn, and Cu were incorporated into the SHA structure. X-ray diffraction (XRD), Rietveld refinement, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) confirmed that SHA materials with the apatite structure were produced. Chemical analyses indicated that the metal containing SHA materials were deficient in Ca relative to pure-SHA. The shift in the infrared PO4-mu 3 vibrations, smaller unit cell parameters, smaller particle size, and greater structural strain for Fe-, Mn-, and Cu-containing SHA compared with pure-SHA suggested that Fe, Mn, and Cu were incorporated into SHA structure. Rietveld analyses revealed that Fe, Mn, and Cu substituted into the Ca2 site of SHA. An Fe-rich phase was detected by TEM analyses and backscattered electron microscopy in the Fe-containing SHA material with the greatest Fe content. The substitution of metals into SHA suggests that metal-SHA materials are potential slow-release sources of micronutrients for plant uptake in addition to Ca and P.
The incorporation of micronutrients (e.g., Fe, Mn, Cu) into synthetic hydroxyapatite (SHA) is proposed for slow release of these nutrients to crops in NASA's Advanced Life Support (ALS) program for long-duration space missions. Separate Fe3+ (Fe-SHA), Mn2+ (Mn-SHA), and Cu2+ (Cu-SHA) containing SHA materials were synthesized by a precipitation method. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy was used to determine the location of Fe3+, Mn2+, and Cu2+ ions in the SHA structure and to identify other Fe(3+)-, Mn(2+)-, and Cu(2+)-containing phases that formed during precipitation. The EPR parameters for Fe3+ (g=4.20 and 8.93) and for Mn2+ (g=2.01, A=9.4 mT, D=39.0 mT and E=10.5 mT) indicated that Fe3+ and Mn2+ possessed rhombic ion crystal fields within the SHA structure. The Cu2+ EPR parameters (g(z)=2.488, A(z)=5.2 mT) indicated that Cu2+ was coordinated to more than six oxygens. The rhombic environments of Fe3+ and Mn2+ along with the unique Cu2+ environment suggested that these metals substituted for the 7 or 9 coordinate Ca2+ in SHA. The EPR analyses also detected poorly crystalline metal oxyhydroxides or metal-phosphates associated with SHA. The Fe-, Mn-, and Cu-SHA materials are potential slow release sources of Fe, Mn, and Cu for ALS and terrestrial cropping systems.
Nutrient release in clinoptilolite-phosphate rock (Cp-PR) systems occurs through dissolution and cation-exchange reactions. Investigating the kinetics of these reactions expands our understanding of nutrient release processes. Research was conducted to model transport kinetics of nutrient release in Cp-PR systems. The objectives were to identify empirical models that best describe NH4, K, and P release and define diffusion-controlling processes. Materials included a Texas clinoptilolite (Cp) and North Carolina phosphate rock (PR). A continuous-flow thin-disk technique was used. Models evaluated included zero order, first order, second order, parabolic diffusion, simplified Elovich, Elovich, and power function. The power-function, Elovich, and parabolic-diffusion models adequately described NH4, K, and P release. The power-function model was preferred because of its simplicity. Models indicated nutrient release was diffusion controlled. Primary transport processes controlling nutrient release for the time span observed were probably the result of a combination of several interacting transport mechanisms.
Two equations are currently available for estimating soil volumetric heat capacity (pc) with the dual-probe heat-pulse (DPHP) method. One is simple but gives only approximate results because it assumes that the DPHP sensor releases an impulse of heat instantaneously. The other explicitly accounts for the finite duration of heating and gives exact results. Unfortunately, the equation that gives exact results involves the exponential integral function, which is not available in most computer spreadsheet software packages or data logger function libraries. In this note we introduce an approximation of the exact equation that contains only simple algebraic functions. The approximation consists of the first five terms of a Taylor series, which are written as a telescoped polynomial for computational purposes. For most applications of the DPHP method, the polynomial approximation gives estimates of pc that are at least an order of magnitude more accurate than estimates obtained from the simple equation based on instantaneous heating.
The incorporation of micronutrients into synthetic hydroxyapatite (SHA) is proposed for slow release of these nutrients to crops in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) Advanced Life Support (ALS) program for Lunar or Martian outposts. Solid state 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) was utilized to examine the paramagnetic effects of Fe3+, Mn2+, and Cu2+ to determine if they were incorporated into the SHA structure. Separate Fe3+, Mn2+, and Cu2+ containing SHA materials along with a transition metal free SHA (pure-SHA) were synthesized using a precipitation method. The proximity (<1 nm) of the transition metals to the 31P nuclei of SHA were apparent when comparing the integrated 31P signal intensities of the pure-SHA (87 arbitrary units g-1) with the Fe-, Mn-, and Cu-SHA materials (37-71 arbitrary units g-1). The lower integrated 31P signal intensities of the Fe-, Mn-, and Cu-SHA materials relative to the pure-SHA suggested that Fe3+, Mn2+, and Cu2+ were incorporated in the SHA structure. Further support for Fe3+, Mn2+, and Cu2+ incorporation was demonstrated by the reduced spin-lattice relaxation constants of the Fe-, Mn-, and Cu-SHA materials (T'=0.075-0.434s) relative to pure-SHA (T1=58.4s). Inversion recovery spectra indicated that Fe3+, Mn2+, and Cu2+ were not homogeneously distributed about the 31P nuclei in the SHA structure. Extraction with diethylene-triamine-penta-acetic acid (DTPA) suggested that between 50 and 80% of the total starting metal concentrations were incorporated in the SHA structure. Iron-, Mn-, and Cu-containing SHA are potential slow release sources of Fe, Mn, and Cu in the ALS cropping system.
Micronutrient-substituted synthetic hydroxyapatite (SHA) is being evaluated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Advanced Life Support (ALS) Program for crop production on long-duration human missions to the International Space Station or for future Lunar or Martian outposts. The stirred-flow technique was utilized to characterize Ca, P, Fe, Mn, and Cu release characteristics from Fe-, Mn-, and Cu-containing SHA in deionized (DI) water, citric acid, and diethylene-triamine-pentaacetic acid (DTPA). Initially, Ca and P release rates decreased rapidly with time and were controlled by a non-SHA calcium phosphate phase(s) with low Ca/P solution molar ratios (0.91-1.51) relative to solid SHA ratios (1.56-1.64). At later times, Ca/P solution molar ratios (1.47-1.79) were near solid SHA ratios and release rates decreased slowly indicating that SHA controlled Ca and P release. Substituted SHA materials had faster dissolution rates relative to unsubstituted SHA. The initial metal release rate order was Mn > Cu > Fe which followed metal-oxide/phosphate solubility suggesting that poorly crystalline metal-oxides/phosphates were dominating metal release. Similar metal release rates for all substituted SHA (approximately 0.01 cmol kg-1 min-1) at the end of the DTPA experiment indicated that SHA dissolution was supplying the metals into solution and that poorly crystalline metal-oxide/phosphates were not controlling metal release. Results indicate that non-SHA Ca-phosphate phases and poorly crystalline metal-oxide/phosphates will contribute Ca, P, and metals. After these phases have dissolved, substituted SHA will be the source of Ca, P, and metals for plants.
Understanding the effect of gravity on hydraulic properties of plant growth medium is essential for growing plants in space. The suitability of existing models to simulate hydraulic properties of porous medium is uncertain due to limited understanding of fundamental mechanisms controlling water and air transport in microgravity. The objective of this research was to characterize saturated and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity (K) of two particle-size distributions of baked ceramic aggregate using direct measurement techniques compatible with microgravity. Steady state (Method A) and instantaneous profile measurement (Method B) methods for K were used in a single experimental unit with horizontal flow through thin sections of porous medium providing an earth-based analog to microgravity. Comparison between methods was conducted using a crossover experimental design compatible with limited resources of space flight. Satiated (natural saturation) K ranged from 0.09 to 0.12 cm s-1 and 0.5 to >1 cm s-1 for 0.25- to 1- and 1- to 2-mm media, respectively. The K at the interaggregate/intraaggregate transition was approximately 10(-4) cm s-1 for both particle-size distributions. Significant differences in log(10)K due to method and porous medium were less than one order of magnitude and were attributed to variability in air entrapment. The van Genuchten/Mualem parametric models provided an adequate prediction of K of the interaggregate pore space, using residual water content for that pore space. The instantaneous profile method covers the range of water contents relevant to plant growth using fewer resources than Method A, all advantages for space flight where mass, volume, and astronaut time are limited.
Exchangeable Al in subsoils of Ultisols in the southeastern USA can restrict rooting depth. Downward movement of basic cations (Ca, Mg, and K), applied as lime and fertilizer, may diminish that restriction over time. Materials from the argillic horizon were collected from three paired sites, having managed (long-term cropping) and nonmanaged topsoils (Typic Paleudults and Hapludults). One managed site was cropped continuously for 15 yr while the others were cultivated for more than 30 yr. Concentrations of extractable cations and other nutrients from the paired sites were compared to determine the magnitude of change due to management. The ability of the subsoils to support plant growth was evaluated in a missing-nutrient greenhouse experiment with sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench]. Subsoils of managed sites had greater effective cation-exchange capacity (CEC) and base saturation than those of non-managed sites. While availabilities of Ca, Mg, and K in subsoils of nonmanaged sites were inadequate to support maximal plant growth, they were adequate in subsoils of managed sites. Compared with nonmanaged sites, KCl-exchangeable Al in subsoils of managed sites was 23% lower at the 15-yr location and 65 and 100% lower at the two other locations. In the absence of lime, sorghum growth was almost totally inhibited on nonmanaged subsoils amended with optimum nutrients. On the managed subsoils, where 100, 65, and 23% of the nonmanaged exchangeable Al had been neutralized by topsoil fertilization and liming, growth reductions under the same conditions were 0, 50, and 100%, respectively. Thus, relatively long-term management had improved these Ultisol subsoils for root growth and development.
The effects of sagebrush conversion on the soil properties of a high-elevation portion of the Western Intermountain Sagebrush Steppe (West, 1983) are described. Changes were found in only a few soil chemical properties after conversion to grassland. It was found that surface concentrations of N were lower under grass vegetation than under undisturbed vegetation. Undershrub net N mineralization rates were higher under shrubs in the sagebrush vegetation than under former shrubs in the grass vegetation.
Surface soil samples from a wide range of naturally occurring soils were obtained for the purpose of studying the characteristic variations in soil reflectance as these variations relate to other soil properties and soil classification. A total 485 soil samples from the U.S. and Brazil representing 30 suborders of the 10 orders of 'Soil Taxonomy' was examined. The spectral bidirectional reflectance factor was measured on uniformly moist soils over the 0.52 to 2.32 micron wavelength range with a spectroradiometer adapted for indoor use. Five distinct soil spectral reflectance curve forms were identified according to curve shape, the presence or absence of absorption bands, and the predominance of soil organic matter and iron oxide composition. These curve forms were further characterized according to generically homogeneous soil properties in a manner similar to the subdivisions at the suborder level of 'Soil Taxonomy'. Results indicate that spectroradiometric measurements of soil spectral bidirectional reflectance factor can be used to characterize soil reflectance in terms that are meaningful to soil classification, genesis, and survey.
Spectral responses of two glaciated soils, Chalmers silty clay loam and Fincastle silt loam, formed under prairie grass and forest vegetation, respectively, were measured in the laboratory under controlled moisture equilibria using an Exotech Model 20C spectroradiometer to obtain spectral data in the laboratory under artificial illumination. The same spectroradiometer was used outdoors under solar illumination to obtain spectral response from dry and moistened field plots with and without corn residue cover, representing the two different soils. Results indicate that laboratory-measured spectra of moist soil are directly proportional to the spectral response of that same field-measured moist bare soil over the 0.52 micrometer to 1.75 micrometer wavelength range. The magnitudes of difference in spectral response between identically treated Chalmers and Fincastle soils are greatest in the 0.6 micrometers to 0.8 micrometer transition region between the visible and near infrared, regardless of field condition or laboratory preparation studied.
Recent breakthroughs in remote-sensing technology have led to the development of high spectral resolution imaging sensors for observation of earth surface features. This research was conducted to evaluate the effects of organic matter content and composition on narrowband soil reflectance across the visible and reflective infrared spectral ranges. Organic matter from four Indiana agricultural soils, ranging in organic C content from 0.99 to 1.72 percent, was extracted, fractionated, and purified. Six components of each soil were isolated and prepared for spectral analysis. Reflectance was measured in 210 narrow bands in the 400- to 2500-nm wavelength range. Statistical analysis of reflectance values indicated the potential of high dimensional reflectance data in specific visible, near-infrared, and middle-infrared bands to provide information about soil organic C content, but not organic matter composition. These bands also responded significantly to Fe- and Mn-oxide content.
Bulk density a fundamental soil property that is difficult to determine for gravelly to gravelly soils because results vary significantly with volume. For such coarse soils, the representative volume (for whole-soil density) should be large, but guidelines for selecting an appropriate sample volume do not exist. We evaluate the representative volume for a soil with abundant rock fragments, by comparing measured properties of ranging in volume from 0.03 to 410 liters, For whole-soil bulk density determination, the representative volume is 4 liters or larger for a soil horizon containing gravel (by volume) and is between 5 and 50 liters for a soil horizon containing gravel. of that size are prohibitively large, so an alternative approach that starts with measurement of fine-earth bulk density. For earth bulk density, the sample volume needed for representative results is between 0.2 liters and 1 liter for gravelly to extremely gravelly soils. The alternative approach reliably synthesizes...
The mobility of As in soils depends on several factors including redox potential, soil mineralogy, pH, and the presence of other oxyanions that compete with As for soil retention sites. We investigated the effects of pH and competing anions on the adsorption of arsenate [As(V)] on a-FeOOH (goethite) and (gibbsite). Batch equilibrium As(V) adsorption experiments were conducted with P and MO as competing anions in order to produce single-anion [As(V), P, and MO] and binary-anion [As(V/P and As(V)/Mo] adsorption envelopes (adsorp- tion vs. solution pH). Arsenate and P single-anion adsorption envelopes were similar with substantial adsorption occurring across a wide pH range, including pH values above the points of zero charge of the oxides. Maximum MO adsorption occurred across a narrower pH range (pH 4-6). On both oxides, equimolar P concentrations decreased As(V) adsorption within the pH range 2 to 11, whereas MO decreased As(V) adsorption only below pH 6. The constant capacita...
General guidelines to reclaim saline or sodic soils do not adequately consider variables such as pH and the presence of organic matter that are known to affect soil stability. Poor structural stability of sodic, saline-sodic, and high-pH soils adversely influences crop yields; promotes piping, tunneling, and slope erosion; and can accelerate the failure of water conveyance systems. We evaluated six soil teats, used to measure physico-cbemical properties, for their suitability to evaluate the structural stability of a calcareous, saline-sodic soil under reclama- tion. The stability tests were wilting point, plastic limit, coefficient of linear extensibility (COLE,& water content at 0.03 MPa, liquid limit, and dispersion index. The range of electrical conductivity (EC) studied was 0.5 to 20 dS sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) 0 to 400 (mmol and pH 8.4 to 10.5. The results obtained indicate that the amount of water necessary for a soil to Sow under standard conditions for the liquid ...
A geostatistical analysis of soil salinity in an agricultural area in the San Joaquin Valley included measurements of electrical conductivity of soil paste extract and water content of soil samples supplemented by surface measurements of apparent electrical conductivity Prediction of soil salinity at unsampled points by cokriging and is worthwhile because measurements are quicker than soil sampling. This work studies how patterns of predicted by cokriging with are influenced by variation in gravimetric water content (W). The data are mean = 1.00 0.13 dS for 2378 locations, mean = 1.40 0.29 dS and mean gravimetric W = 0.260 0.003, both averaged for four samples from 0.3-m intervals to 1.2-m depth for 315 locations. The coefficient of determination for vs. increased with depth from 0.05 to 0.54 whereas the for vs. W decreased from 0.48 to 0.28. A gray-scale map contained nine out of 56 quarter-section boundaries coinciding with step variations in The t-statistics for differences in m...
Field-scale solute transport is typically difficult to model due to the complexity and heterogeneity of flow and transport in natural soils. The stream tube model attempts to stochastically describe transport across the field for relatively short travel distances by viewing the field as a series of independent vertical soil columns. This study investigates the stream tube model with the chemical equilibrium and nonequilibrium convection-dispersion equation (CDE) for local-scale transport. A bivariate (joint) lognormal probability density function was used for three pairs of random transport parameters: (i) the dispersion coefficient, D, and the pore-water velocity, v; (ii) the distribution coefficient for linear adsorption, and v; and (iii) the first- order rate coefficent for nonequilibrium adsorption, a, and v. Expressions for travel time moments as a rsult of a Dirac input were derived to characterize field-scale transport according to the stream tube model. The mean breakthrough ...
An instrument for making rapid measurements of the soil moisture content in the top few meters of soil is an essential tool for many applications, including understanding of soil water dynamics, evaluation of agriculture water stress, validation of soil moisture modeling, and assimilation of remotely sensed near-surface soil moisture data. Studies have shown that electrical resistance measurements may be used to measure soil moisture content. In this paper, electrical resistivity (resistance multiplied by a geometric factor) measurements of the soil using the OhmMapper instrument of Geometrics Inc. are compared with time domain reflectometry point measurements of soil moisture to a depth of 70 cm. It was found that the OhmMapper could measure soil moisture content with a correlation coefficient of up to 0.6. It is likely that this correlation coefficient would be greater if much deeper measurements of soil moisture were compared with the OhmMapper measurements. 1 1. INTRODUCTION Kno...
Soil carbon (C) distribution, natural ¹³ C abundances and their changes as a consequence of cropping were studied in three neighboring areas on an Oxisol from Brazil. One site (T 0 ) was under forest, while the two other sites (T 12 and T 50 ) had been deforested, then cultivated with sugar cane for 12 and 50 yr, respectively. Soil morphological, chemical and mineralogical characteristics in all three sites were very similar. Total C content of the 0.06‐m layer of T 0 was twice that of T 12 and T 50 , then decreased sharply with depth, to values similar to the other profiles. Delta ¹³ C had practically constant values of −25.1, −22.8, and −20.4‰, throughout the 0 to 0.30‐m layer of T 0 , T 12 , and T 50 respectively. These values increased in deeper layers, to about −17‰, due to increased humification and possibly to deposition of organic matter from a former ¹³ C‐rich vegetation. The 0.10‐ to 0.20‐m layer was separated into particle‐size fractions and alkaline extract. Carbon contents decreased from T 0 to T 50 in the sand‐size fractions and alkaline extracts, but did not change in the clay‐size fractions. Delta ¹³ C values were used to estimate the proportions of C derived from forest (Cdff) and from sugar cane (Cdfc). Carbon derived from sugar cane represented 17.3 ± 3.2% and 40.5 ± 2.2% of total C in T 12 and T 50 , respectively. It reached its maximum value (67 ± 3.7%) in the coarse sand fraction of T 12 and T 50 and decreased with decreasing fraction size, to 13.8 ± 9.4% and 30.5 ± 6.5% in the fine clay fractions of T 12 and T 50 , respectively. Thus, Cdff persisted mainly in the clay‐size fraction.
The 13C natural abundance approach for determining soil organic C (SOC) stability and turnover has been used to determine SOC mineralization kinetics. These calculations generally assume that 13C fractionation during relic SOC and unharvested biomass mineralization is insignificant. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of this assumption on calculated relic SOC half-lives. Study sites were located in Minnesota and South Dakota. At the Minnesota site, SOC contained in the surface 30 cm of soil in a fallowed area decreased from 90.8 to 73.2 Mg ha-1 during a 22-yr period. Associated with this decrease was a 0.72 ppt increase in the soil delta 13C values (from -18.97 to -18.25 ppt). Based on these values, the Rayleigh fractionation constant (epsilon) of relic SOC was -3.45 ppt. At the South Dakota site, SOC decreased 10% (2.8 ± 1.8 g kg-1) and delta 13C increased 3.2% (0.548 ± 0.332 ppt) during a 5-yr period. The Rayleigh fractionation constant for this experiment was -6.94 ppt (±4.74 ppt). In a separate experiment, the delta 13C value of corn (Zea mays L.) and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] residue remained unchanged after 4 mo. The impact of 13C enrichment during relic C mineralization on calculated C budgets depends on the type of residue returned to the soil. A simulation study showed that for systems where C4 residues are returned to soil derived from C3 and C4 plants, not considering 13C enrichment during relic SOC mineralization will result in underestimating relic SOC half-lives and overestimating the contribution of fresh C4 biomass in the SOC. The effect of 13C enrichment during relic SOC and unharvested biomass mineralization had cumulative impacts on C budgets and did not cancel each other out. The reverse was true for C3 biomass. To minimize these errors, SOC maintenance rate experiments should measure 13C enrichment during relic SOC and unharvested biomass mineralization.
A major impediment to the establishment of outplanted conifer seedlings is competition for available soil N by early successional species. The objective of this field study was to determine the fate of controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) N in soils with outplanted white spruce (Picea glauca [Moench] Voss.) and jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) seedlings, and the effect of weed control or vegetation management (VM) on fertilizer N accumulation. Nitrogen-15 labeled CRF was placed next to the seedling root plug during planting at four boreal mixed wood sites. After one growing season in the control plots, fertilizer N recovery as a percentage of 15N added was 4% in seedlings, 3% in competing vegetation, <1% leached, and 85% residual CRF. After two growing seasons, fertilizer N recovery was 15% in seedlings, 20% in competing vegetation, <1% leached, and 58% residual CRF. Overall, VM increased seedling fertilizer N uptake by almost 300% compared with conifer seedlings in control plots. In VM plots, fertilizer bags contained more N than in control plots after two growing seasons. In both treatments, >50% of the fertilizer N remained in the fertilizer bag, presumably remaining available in subsequent seasons. Calamagrostis (Calamagrostis canadensis) was the primary competitor for fertilizer N in both growing seasons, with minor competition from fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium L.), and aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.). The use of a point source CRF delivery method resulted in high fertilizer use efficiency (FUE), and minimized losses to competing vegetation and leaching.