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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Relation Between Potassium Fixation and the Oxidation State of Octahedral Iron1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 51 No. 1, p. 82-86
    Received: Dec 30, 1985

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  1. S. Z. Chen,
  2. P. F. Low and
  3. C. B. Roth2



Samples of the <2-µm fractions of five pure smectites and six soil clays were reduced by sodium dithionite in the presence of a potassium citrate-bicarbonate buffer. Subsequently, they were freed of excess electrolyte by dialyzing them in a deoxygenated, 10−3 M KCl solution. Subsamples of the resulting clays were used to determine Fe2+/total Fe, the ratio of ferrous Fe to total Fe; mw/mc, the mass ratio of water to clay, at a swelling pressure of 0.3 MPa; KT, the total K; KE, the exchangeable potassium; and KF, the fixed K. Identical samples of the same smectites and soil clays were subjected to the same experiments except that they were treated with sodium sulfate instead of sodium dithionite. Hence, they remained in the oxidized state. Then the differences in the experimental results for the reduced and oxidized samples were determined. For the several samples, it was found that ΔKF, the change in KF, was proportional to Δ(mw/mc), the change in mw/mc. Also, it was found that ΔKF was an exponential function of 1/ΔFe2+, where ΔFe2+ is the change in Fe2+, but that the constants in this function were different for the pure smectites than for the soil clays. From these findings it was concluded that K+ fixation is enhanced by the reduction of octahedral ferric Fe in the clay crystal and that the difference between the pure smectites and soil clays was attributable to nonsmectite minerals in the latter.

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