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J Colloid Interface Sci. 2003 Aug 15;264(2):322-6.

Effect of low-molecular-weight organic anions on surface charge of variable charge soils.

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  • 1Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 821, Nanjing, China. rkxu@issas.ac.cn


Low-molecular-weight (LMW) organic acids exist widely in soils and have been implicated in many soil processes. In the present paper, the effect of the anions of four low-molecular-weight organic acids on the surface charge of three variable charge soils was investigated. The results showed that the presence of organic anions led to an increase in negative charge and a decrease in positive charge. Positive charges decreased to a larger extent than negative charges. The effect of different anions on surface charge followed the order citrate > malate > oxalate > acetate. For hyper-rhodic ferrasol and rhodic ferrasol, the change of positive charge decreased with the increase in pH, while that of negative charge increased with the increase in pH. Among different soils the extent of change in surface charge was related to their iron oxides content. When free iron oxides were removed from the soil, the effect of organic anions on surface charge decreased sharply. These findings may be of practical significance for variable charge soils low in nutrient-retaining capacity by increasing the retaining capacity for cations such as potassium and calcium considerably but decreasing that for anions such as nitrate remarkably.

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