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Accepted, edited articles are published here after author proofing to provide rapid publication and better access to the newest research. Articles are compiled into issues at dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/sssaj, which includes the complete archive.

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Nouwakpo, S. K. and C.-H. Huang. 2012. A Fluidized Bed Technique for Estimating Soil Critical Shear Stress Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. doi:10.2136/sssaj2012.0056

Current issue: Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 79(6)


    • B. Xu, Y. Pan, A.H. Johnson and A.F. Plante
      Method Comparison for Forest Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Estimates in the Delaware River Basin

      The accuracy of forest soil C and N estimates is hampered by forest soils that are rocky, inaccessible, and spatially heterogeneous. A composite coring technique is the standard method used in Forest Inventory and Analysis, but its accuracy has been questioned. Quantitative soil pits provide direct measurement of rock content and soil mass from a larger, more representative volume. In this study, the two sampling methods were used to estimate soil C and N stocks in forested plots in the Delaware River Basin. (continued)

      Published: December 30, 2015


    • Fei Ma, Changwen Du and Jianmin Zhou
      A Self-Adaptive Model for the Prediction of Soil Organic Matter Using Mid-Infrared Photoacoustic Spectroscopy

      Fast quantification of soil organic matter (SOM) is important in crop production and soil fertility evaluation. Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy has been widely utilized for rapid, cost-effective, and nondestructive SOM determination. However, the lack of accuracy has limited the application of FTIR spectroscopy to quantitative SOM prediction because the models are built from a typical database, resulting in large errors in new independent samples. In this study, using 933 paddy soil samples collected in Lishui, China, a “self-adaptive” model was designed for predicting SOM content, in conjunction with Fourier-transform mid-infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy (FTIR-PAS). (continued)

      Published: December 30, 2015


    • Andrew J. Margenot, Francisco J. Calderón and Sanjai J. Parikh
      Limitations and Potential of Spectral Subtractions in Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy of Soil Samples

      Soil science research is increasingly applying Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy for analysis of soil organic matter (SOM). However, the compositional complexity of soils and the dominance of the mineral component can limit spectroscopic resolution of SOM and other minor components. The use of spectral subtraction is an established technique for isolating specific components of multicomponent spectra, and as such is a powerful tool to improve and expand the potential of spectroscopy of soil samples. To maximize the utility of spectral subtraction and avoid its misuse, consideration must be given to the general and soil-specific limitations of FTIR spectroscopy and subtractions, as well as specific experimental objectives. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Spectral subtractions are a tool for improving FTIR spectroscopy.
      • Minor components of soil spectra such as SOM can be resolved by subtracting interfering backgrounds (e.g., minerals).
      • Limitations to spectral subtractions are specific to both FTIR spectroscopy and soils.
      • There is strong potential to improve accuracy and applications of subtractions in soil spectra.

      Published: December 30, 2015


    • Robert R. Wells, Henrique G. Momm, Sean J. Bennett, Karl R. Gesch, Seth M. Dabney, Richard Cruse and Glenn V. Wilson
      A Measurement Method for Rill and Ephemeral Gully Erosion Assessments

      When flowing water concentrates on hillslopes, the erosivity of the water may only be limited by the erodibility of the soil. Over time, concentrated flow paths may become permanent drainage channels, and such rills and ephemeral gullies often have negative impacts on crop yield and downstream sedimentation. Spatiotemporal topographic assessments of rill and gully dimensions compliment hydraulic erosion estimates, and they can elucidate soil erosion processes and provide data for model validation. Accurate and detailed topographic assessments, however, can be cost prohibitive. (continued)

      Published: February 5, 2016

    • Humberto Blanco-Canqui, Aaron L. Stalker, Rick Rasby, Tim M. Shaver, Mary E. Drewnoski, Simon van Donk and Leonard Kibet
      Does Cattle Grazing and Baling of Corn Residue Increase Water Erosion?

      A better understanding of the implications of corn (Zea mays L.) residue grazing and baling on soil and environmental quality is needed to develop sustainable integrated crop–livestock production systems. We studied how corn residue grazing and baling impacted water erosion in a rainfed and an irrigated site in Nebraska after one and seven grazing seasons, respectively. Treatments were grazing (4.4 animal unit mo [AUM] ha−1), baling, and control (no residue removal) in triplicate at the rainfed site on a Yutan silty clay loam (6% slope) and light grazing (2.5 AUM ha−1), heavy grazing (5 AUM ha−1), baling, and control in duplicate at the irrigated site on Duroc loam and Satanta loam (5.3% slope). We measured erosion under simulated rainfall for 30 min at an intensity of 6.3 ± 1.2 cm h−1. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Water erosion did not increase after one season of grazing, but it significantly increased after seven seasons of grazing.
      • Baling increased water erosion and its effects were larger than grazing.
      • Water erosion increased as residue cover decreased.

      Published: January 22, 2016

    • Kai-Bo Wang, Zong-Ping Ren, Lei Deng, Zheng-Chao Zhou, Zhou-Ping Shangguan, Wei-Yu Shi and Yi-Ping Chen
      Profile Distributions and Controls of Soil Inorganic Carbon along a 150-Year Natural Vegetation Restoration Chronosequence

      Soil inorganic C (SIC) comprises approximately a third of the global soil C pool, which plays an important role in global C cycling. However, there is still considerable disagreement on the direction and magnitude of changes in SIC stocks following vegetation restoration. We conducted a study comparing SIC at different succession stages along a 150-yr natural vegetation restoration chronosequence to examine the effect of long-term natural vegetation restoration on the distribution of SIC and to identify the factors that control changes in SIC. The results showed that SIC storage in the top 10 cm gradually decreased (0.092 Mg ha−1 yr−1) along the vegetation restoration chronosequence but was basically unchanged in the subsoil (10–100 cm). (continued)

      Published: February 5, 2016

    • Maurício R. Cherubin, Douglas L. Karlen, André L.C. Franco, Carlos E. P. Cerri, Cássio A. Tormena and Carlos C. Cerri
      A Soil Management Assessment Framework (SMAF) Evaluation of Brazilian Sugarcane Expansion on Soil Quality

      The Soil Management Assessment Framework (SMAF) was developed to evaluate impacts of land use and management practices on soil quality (SQ), but its suitability for Brazilian tropical soils was unknown. We hypothesized that SMAF would be sensitive enough to detect SQ changes associated with sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) expansion for ethanol production. Field studies were performed at three sites across the south-central region of Brazil, aiming to quantify the impacts of a land use change sequence (i.e., native vegetation–pasture–sugarcane) on SQ. Eight soil indicators were individually scored using SMAF curves developed primarily for North American soils and integrated into an overall Soil Quality Index (SQI) and its chemical, physical, and biological sectors. (continued)

      Published: February 5, 2016

    • Rodrigo S. Nicoloso, Charles W. Rice and Telmo J.C. Amado
      Kinetic to Saturation Model for Simulation of Soil Organic Carbon Increase to Steady State

      The use of mathematical models predicting SOC dynamics can provide relevant information about the C storage potential of agricultural soils. We evaluated three mathematical models (first-order kinetic, C saturation, and a proposed kinetic to saturation) predicting SOC dynamics and steady-state SOC of a Hapludoll from central Kansas. The study was based on a long-term experiment (17 yr) assessing soil tillage systems (chisel tillage [CT] and no-till [NT]) and N fertilizer sources (168 kg N ha−1 as NH4NO3 [MF], cattle manure [OF], and a control treatment without N [CO]. The soil under NT (0–5 cm) had significant SOC accumulation (>0.23 Mg C ha−1 yr−1) regardless of fertilization source, while the CT soil had negligible changes in SOC (<0.12 Mg C ha−1 yr−1) without the addition of organic fertilizer as an external C source. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • We evaluated SOC dynamics in a long-term soil tillage and N fertilization experiment.
      • We proposed a kinetic to saturation model for long-term simulation of SOC dynamics.
      • The model was accurate in C-depleted soils and accounted for SOC saturation process.

      Published: February 5, 2016

    • Yunqiang Wang, Xiangwei Han, Zhao Jin, Chencheng Zhang and Linchuan Fang
      Soil Organic Carbon Stocks in Deep Soils at a Watershed Scale on the Chinese Loess Plateau

      An accurate evaluation of soil organic C (SOC) stocks is important to C management and to understanding fully the role of soils in the C cycle. However, SOC stocks in deep soils and the factors that affect them have been largely ignored. We measured SOC stocks and other soil properties to a depth of 500 cm (n = 73) under three land uses in the Lao Ye Man Qu watershed on the Chinese Loess Plateau. Similar patterns in the vertical distributions of SOC stocks were found under cropland, grassland, and shrubland. (continued)

      Published: December 30, 2015


    • Lisa M. Stout, Thanh T. Nguyen and Deb P. Jaisi
      Relationship of Phytate, Phytate-Mineralizing Bacteria, and Beta-Propeller Phytase Genes along a Coastal Tributary to the Chesapeake Bay

      Phytate is often the most common and recalcitrant form of organic P in soils. Given that extracellular phytase activities are attributed to soil microorganisms, the distribution and characterization of phytate-mineralizing bacteria (PMB) and quantification of phytate genes across an environmental gradient can address questions related to the degree of relative recalcitrancy of phytate P and microbial response to phytate loading. In this study, we analyzed paired sediment and water samples from different sites along a stretch of East Creek, a coastal tributary to the Chesapeake Bay, for the abundance of PMB as well as β-propeller phytase (BPP) genes, a gene for the most common of the phytase enzymes, using culture-dependent and -independent methods. We found that a larger proportion of isolates from sites near the headwaters were PMB than at the mouth of the creek. (continued)

      Published: December 30, 2015


    • Daniel J. Ashworth and Scott R. Yates
      An Improved Method for Determination of Fumigant Degradation Half-Life in Soil

      Using the current approach, measurement of fumigant degradation half-lives under realistic soil conditions is problematic due to the large headspace that is necessary above the soil during incubation. This results in a poor degree of contact between the fumigant and the soil’s degrading surfaces, which differs markedly from field conditions. We report a simple, novel approach for determining fumigant degradation half-lives in which the fumigant is in complete contact with the soil during incubation (no headspace) and which uses gastight, nonsorbing equipment commonly found in pesticide research laboratories. The approach was tested on a sandy loam soil. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Degradation of fumigants is an important component of their fate and transport.
      • Traditional measurement of half-life is limited by the large headspace in an incubation vial.
      • A novel approach is presented that eliminates the incubation vial headspace.
      • This novel approach yields shorter fumigant half-lives due to greater contact with soil.

      Published: February 5, 2016

    • Yohey Hashimoto, Mitsuhiro Furuya, Noriko Yamaguchi and Tomoyuki Makino
      Zerovalent Iron with High Sulfur Content Enhances the Formation of Cadmium Sulfide in Reduced Paddy Soils

      The objective of this study was to investigate the role of S impurity in zerovalent iron (ZVI) on the chemical speciation and solubility of Cd in the reduced soils. Two types of ZVI with contrastingly different S levels (0.009 and 1.08%) were used to find how the solubility and speciation of Cd would be influenced by the S impurity in ZVIs. Synchrotron-based X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) spectroscopy was used to determine the relative proportion of CdS and other species in the Cd-spiked soils amended with ZVIs with different S levels (hereafter low- and high-S ZVIs). Microscale distribution and speciation of Cd at the interface between ZVI and soil particles were investigated using micro-X-ray fluorescence (μ-XRF) and micro-XAFS (μ-XAFS) spectroscopy. (continued)

      Published: February 5, 2016


    • Thomas Riedel and Tobias K.D. Weber
      The Chemical Potential of Water in Soils and Sediments

      The chemical potential of water characterizes the thermodynamic state of the aqueous environment in soils and sediments. In the presence of clay minerals and other fines, such as organic matter and silt, it is lower than at standard state (less than −237.18 kJ mol-1). As a result, chemical reactions may proceed rather differently than in an ideal aqueous solution. This is currently not considered in biogeochemical models of soils and sediments. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Measurements of the true chemical potential of water in soils are presented.
      • The thermodynamic state of water is not uniform in up to 80% of the pore spaces of soils and sediments.
      • Application of the chemical potential of water in biogeochemical studies of soils is discussed.

      Published: January 22, 2016


    • D.S.J. Tuyogon, S.M. Impa, O.B. Castillo, W. Larazo and S. E. Johnson-Beebout
      Enriching Rice Grain Zinc through Zinc Fertilization and Water Management

      Increasing rice (Oryza sativa) grain-Zn concentration is important for achieving improved human nutrition. Our objective was to understand how agronomic management practices, including water management and fertilizer-Zn application rate and timing, affect plant growth, grain-Zn concentration, and yield of rice genotypes. In a series of four-field experiments over three seasons, we tested multiple combinations of water management techniques and fertilizer-Zn application techniques. The use of alternate wetting and drying (AWD) water management increased (p < 0.001) soil redox potential and diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA)-extractable soil Zn compared with continuous flooding (CF) in the 0- to 2-cm soil depth, but not always in the 2- to 10-cm depth. (continued)

      Published: February 5, 2016

    • Yeukai Katanda, Francis Zvomuya, Don Flaten and Nazim Cicek
      Hog-Manure-Recovered Struvite: Effects on Canola and Wheat Biomass Yield and Phosphorus Use Efficiencies

      Recovery of manure P as magnesium ammonium phosphate hexahydrate (MgNH4PO4∙6H2O), commonly known as struvite, can mitigate the risk of P contamination of surface water bodies from hog operations. The slow release of P from struvite may help improve crop P use efficiency. This greenhouse bioassay evaluated the agronomic effectiveness of liquid hog manure recovered struvite. Struvite, monoammonium phosphate (MAP), and polymer-coated MAP (CMAP) were evaluated for canola (Brassica napus L.) grown in rotation with spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in two low soil test P (Olsen P < 6 mg kg−1) soils: a sandy Gleyed Regosol (Typic Haplaquent) and a clay loamy Orthic Black Chernozem (Udic Boroll). (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Struvite recovered from liquid hog manure is a slow-release P source.
      • Recovered struvite produced yields that matched or exceeded those from MAP fertilizers.
      • Despite its slow-release properties, struvite supplied adequate P to the crops.

      Published: January 22, 2016

    • Kate Cassity-Duffey and Miguel Cabrera
      Measuring Dew and Its Effect on Ammonia Volatilization from Surface-Applied Broiler Litter in the Southeastern United States

      Dew deposition is often overlooked in humid regions, such as the southeastern USA, but may play an important role in nutrient cycling for surface-applied fertilizers and broiler litter. The objectives of this study were to measure dew in a pasture and to evaluate the effect of simulated dew on NH3 volatilization in a laboratory study. A microlysimeter method was used to measure dew in a tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) and bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L.) pasture over 206 d. In the 206 d measured, 119 d received dew with an average dew fall of 0.19 mm and greater events observed in the cooler spring and fall months. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Dew deposition is often overlooked in humid regions but may play an important role in nutrient cycling for surface-applied fertilizers and broiler litter.
      • Dew accumulated during the measurement period accounted for 6% of the precipitation measured with heaviest dew recorded in the spring and winter months.
      • Under laboratory conditions, simulated dew led to increased ammonia loss for surface-applied broiler litter.
      • Incorporation of dew as a significant weather variable may better aid in predicting NH3 loss using simulation models.

      Published: January 8, 2016


    • Mingrui Yuan, Zhi Ping Xu, Thomas Baumgartl and Longbin Huang
      Organic Amendment and Plant Growth Improved Aggregation in Cu/Pb-Zn Tailings

      Improving aggregation in base metal mine tailings is an important step in stimulating the formation of technosols for successful phytostabilization. The present study aimed at evaluating the effects of organic amendments and the growth of pioneer plant species on aggregation of Cu/Pb-Zn tailings under glasshouse conditions. The tailings were amended with sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) residue (SR) and its compost (SC) at 5% (w/w), and were incubated with or without red flinders (Iseilema vaginiflorum Domin) growth in a pot-culture experiment for 40 d. The organic amendments mainly stimulated tailings microaggregation through organo-mineral interactions, due to increased aggregate-associated organic C (OC) contents. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Organic matters rich in functional groups (e.g. amines, carboxylic, and hydroxylic) stimulated the microaggregation of fine silt/silt particles in Cu/Pb-Zn tailings.
      • Plant growth favored the formation of macroaggregates and large macroaggregates in the silty tailings.
      • Microbial activities and amorphous Fe/Al/Si in the rhizosphere tailings galvanized the stability of aggregates in the tailings.

      Published: January 22, 2016

    • R. Riggert, F. Fleige, B. Kietz, T. Gaertig and R. Horn
      Stress Distribution under Forestry Machinery and Consequences for Soil Stability

      The major principal stress (σ1) of modern wheels and cleat-track forestry machinery was evaluated regarding changes in soil strength during multiple traffic experiments. Four heavy machines up to 32 Mg and three smaller machines up to 6.5 Mg were tested on soils derived from loess and glacial till in Lower Saxony, northwest Germany. The σ1 was measured at different soil depths by a stress-state transducer system. Undisturbed soil samples were also taken to identify precompression stress (Pc) in order to quantify the ratio of Pc and actual σ1. (continued)

      Published: January 22, 2016


    • Yili Lu, Xiaona Liu, Joshua Heitman, Robert Horton and Tusheng Ren
      Determining Soil Bulk Density with Thermo-Time Domain Reflectometry: A Thermal Conductivity-Based Approach

      The bulk density (ρb) of a tilled soil layer usually varies with depth and time. It is difficult to measure in situ ρb with available instruments. Here we present a new approach that is capable of monitoring in situ ρb based on thermal conductivity (λ) measurements. The proposed approach relies on an empirical model that relates λ to soil particle-size distribution, ρb, and volumetric water content (θ). (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • A method for monitoring soil bulk density from thermal conductivity and water content is provided.
      • The new approach provides reliable bulk density data in both laboratory and field conditions.
      • The new approach performs better than the heat capacity-based method.

      Published: February 5, 2016


    • Shawn W. Salley, Curtis J Talbot and Joel R. Brown
      The Natural Resources Conservation Service Land Resource Hierarchy and Ecological Sites

      Resource areas of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have long been important to soil geography. At both regional and landscape scales, resource areas are used to stratify programs and practices based on geographical areas where resource concerns, problems, or treatment needs are similar. However, the inability to quantifiably delineate and classify resource area boundaries hinders communication across the NRCS and federal agencies. Without strong standards delineating geography and concepts, resource areas become less scientifically defensible and inconsistent in addressing similar resource management issues. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Propose the creation of Land Resource Areas through landscape ecology principles of subdivision.
      • Integrate nested hierarchical relationships into the NRCS Land Resource Hierarchy.
      • Place Ecological Sites as a nested resource area scale in the NRCS Land Resource Hierarchy.

      Published: February 5, 2016

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