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Does incubating bagged soil cores prior to oven drying effect extractable nutrient concentrations


Weichelt, PE and Burkitt, LL, Does incubating bagged soil cores prior to oven drying effect extractable nutrient concentrations, Proceedings of the Joint Soil Science Australia and New Zealand Society of Soil Science Conference, 2-7 December 2012, Hobart, Tasmania, pp. 710. ISBN 978-0-646-59142-1 (2012) [Conference Extract]


The 2011 Australian Standards for Soil and Chemical methods state that soil samples should be kept cool or cold between field sampling and laboratory analysis to minimise biological transformations and other chemical reactions. This can be difficult in practice, as soil samples sent to commercial laboratories are often posted from their origin in sealed plastic bags and could spend several days in transit, before being dried for analysis. Depending on the air temperature during transit, it is possible that chemical and biological transformations may influence extractable nutrient concentrations. This replicated study used 2 different dairy pasture soils (red clay loam and sandy loam) to test the effect of storing field moist soil samples in sealed plastic bags prior to drying. Samples were stored at 4C, 20C and 35C for 48 h and the effect on Olsen and Colwell P, Colwell K and KCl S was measured. Results showed that the extractable nutrient concentration of soils were generally not affected by the incubation temperature, with extractable S concentrations marginally (P = 0.06) lower when incubated at 20C compared to cooled to 4C. It is possible that some S was immobilised by soil microbes under the warm, moist conditions, whereas temperatures of 35C may have been less conducive to microbial activity. These results suggest that some biological changes may have occurred as a result of temperature treatment, however the effect on extractable nutrient concentrations were minimal and the importance of cooling samples prior to extractable nutrient analysis, requires further investigation.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Soil sciences
Research Field:Soil chemistry and soil carbon sequestration (excl. carbon sequestration science)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial systems and management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Weichelt, PE (Ms Pattie Weichelt)
UTAS Author:Burkitt, LL (Dr Lucy Burkitt)
ID Code:77865
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:Agricultural Science
Deposited On:2012-06-02
Last Modified:2012-12-18

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