The top 20 to 50 cm of soil surface is an area of intense chemical, physical, and biological activity. Change in form and composition of materials located in this zone is expected. Carbon-containing compounds, in particular, are subject to degradation and it is an unusual compound that does not undergo appreciable change over time. Simpler carbon-containing compounds often serve as an energy source for microbes, or they become more condensed and increase in stability to form part of the more permanent organic fraction in the soil. Either way, these simpler organic compounds are sure to change with time.
Society has many environmental concerns, particularly in the disposal of synthetic organic compounds that have various biological toxicities. Many of these compounds require careful handling and disposal. It is in the best interest of society to know that many of these toxic compounds have the least chance to persist in their toxic form if exposed at the soil surface. In fact, evidence is accumulating which leads some to believe that many organic compounds have a predictable half-life in surface soil. In other words their toxicity is reduced to half over a period of time. It would serve society well to accumulate all of the evidence possible in such matters of great concern to many people so the most practical and economical decisions are reached.
Subjects covered in this publication discuss reactions of organic compounds at the soil mineral surface. Scientists studying reactions between organic and inorganic compounds occurring in various soils are utilizing nature's laboratory to determine why and how these reactions take place. It is the only way such reactions can be studied in most instances because of the small amount of the compound undergoing change, or the long time needed to detect the change.
The scientists who have written the chapters in this publication are experts. Their understanding of the change nature brings at the soil-mineral interface with natural organic compounds and microbes is tremendous and I am sure the knowledge they report will be useful for many years. We are pleased to have this information in a readily accessible form.
E. C. A. Runge, president, 1985
Soil Science Society of America
Soils develop as a result of interactions of the lithosphere with the hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. Minerals, organics, and microbes thus profoundly affect the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils, the production of foodstuffs and fibres, and the quality of the environment. Therefore, the mineralogy, chemistry, and biology of the soil are disciplines which are essential for a fundamental understanding of soil constituents and processes. During the last few decades, many impressive scientific accomplishments have been achieved in these individual disciplines and have resulted in the publication of a large volume of scientific literature that includes several books on soil mineralogy, soil physical chemistry, humus chemistry, soil biochemistry, and soil microbiology. To date, information on interactions of soil minerals with natural organics and microbes is fragmentary and scattered in the literature of the soil and environmental sciences around the world. These three groups of components are, however, constantly in close association with each other in soil environments. Despite this, no appropriate book is available which serves as a binding agent to integrate and focus on the existing valuable information on this important subject.
The symposium “Interactions of Soil Minerals with Natural Organics and Microbes” was initiated by the elected Program Chair (PMH) of Division S-9, Soil Mineralogy, of the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), and was cosponsored by Division S-2, Soil Chemistry, and Division S-3, Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry. It was organized with input from members of the Organizing Committee representing these three disciplines, and was held during the 1983 SSSA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. The Executive Committee of the SSSA gave its approval for the proposed special publication as indicated in a letter of 25 Mar. 1983 by then President Walter H. Gardner, and appointed the Editorial Committee. The objective of this special publication was to bring together new knowledge on: (i) how soil minerals affect the dynamics and transformations of natural organics and metabolic processes, growth, adhesion and ecology of microbes, and (ii) how natural organics and microbes affect mineral weathering transformations, pedogenesis, aggregate formation, and surface properties and reactivities of soil minerals with respect to nutrients and environmental pollutants. In this publication, an attempt is made to identify present and future research needs and to stimulate research leading to an integration of knowledge on “soil minerals-natural organics-microbes” and their impact on soil development, agricultural production, and environmental protection. It is hoped that this publication will be of use to students and scientists in the soil and environmental sciences and to those who are involved in teaching and research in these disciplines.
The authors invited to contribute chapters in this publication are leading scientists in their respective subject matter areas from North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. We are grateful to them for their invaluable contributions. Sincere appreciation is also extended to the many scientists in soil science and related disciplines for their critical manuscript reviews and suggestions. We also wish to thank the SSSA Headquarters staff for the excellent work in the publication process.
P. M. Huang, chair and co-editor
M. Schnitzer, co-editor
F. Andreux, Chercheur, Centre de Pédologie Biologique, CNRS, 17 rue Notre Dame des Pauvres, B.P. 5-54501 Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy Cédex, France
J. Berthelin, Maître de recherche, Centre de Pédologie Biologique, CNRS, 17 rue Notre Dame des Pauvres, B.P. 5-54501 Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy Cédex, France
R. G. Burns, Senior lecturer in microbiology, Biological Laboratory, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom
Jen-Hshuan Chen, Instructor, Department of Soil Science, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan
M. V. Cheshire, Research scientist, Macaulay Institute for Soil Research, Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
Chang-Hung Chou, Research scientist, Institute of Botany, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan
H. L. Ehrlich, Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York
W. W. Emerson, Senior principal research scientist, CSIRO, Division, of Soils, Glen Osmond, South Australia
W. R. Fischer, Professor, Institut für Bodenkunde, Technische Universitat München, Freising-Weihenstephen 8050, West Germany
Alanah Fitch, Assistant professor, Department of Chemistry, Loyola Univ. of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
R.C.Foster, Senior principal research scientist, CSIRO, Division of Soils, Glen Osmond, South Australia
Konrad Haider, Biochemist, Institut für Pflanzenernährung und Bodenkunde, Bundesforschungsanstalt für Landwirtschaft (FAL), Braunschweig, Federal Republic of Germany
M. H. B. Hayes, Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
F. L. Hirnes, Professor, Department of Agronomy, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
P. M. Huang, Professor, Department of Soil Science, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
K. C. Ivarson, Senior research scientist, Chemistry and Biology Research Institute, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
H. Kodama, Senior research scientist, Chemistry and Biology Research Institute, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
James P. Martin, Professor of soil science Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Riverside, California
J. A. McKeague, Principal research scientist, Land Resources Research Institute, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
M. M. Mortland, Professor, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
J. M. Oades, Professor of soil science, Department of Soil Science, Waite Agricultural Research Institute, The University of Adelaide, Glen Osmond, South Australia
M. Robert, Maître de recherche, Departement de Science du sol, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Versailles, France
M. Schnitzer, Program leader and principal research scientist, Chemistry and Biology Research Institute, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
U. Schwertmann, Professor, Institut für Bodenkunde, Technische Universitat München, Freising 12, Federal Republic of Germany
M. Silver, Research scientist, Atlantic Institute of Biotechnology, Department of Biology, Delhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
F. J. Stevenson, Professor of soil chemistry, Department of Agronomy, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois
G. Stotzky, Professor, Laboratory of Microbial Ecology, Department of Biology, New York University, New York, New York
Kim H. Tan, Professor of agronomy, Department of Agronomy, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
A. Violante, Associate professor, Istituto di Chimica Agraria, Universita Degli Studi di Napoli, 80055 Portici, Italy
T. S. C. Wang, Professor (deceased), Department of Soil Science, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan