Soil chemistry

Soil chemistry

Soil chemistry studies the chemical characteristics of soil. Soil chemistry is affected by mineral composition, organic matter and environmental factors.


Until the late 1960s, soil chemistry focused primarily on chemical reactions in the soil that contribute to pedogenesis or that affect plant growth. Since then concerns have grown about environmental pollution, organic and inorganic soil contamination and potential ecological health and environmental health risks. Consequently, the emphasis in soil chemistry has shifted from pedology and agricultural soil science to an emphasis on environmental soil science.

A knowledge of environmental soil chemistry is paramount to predicting the fate, mobility and potential toxicity of contaminants in the environment. The vast majority of environmental contaminants are initially released to the soil. Once a chemical is exposed to the soil environment a myriad of chemical reactions can occur that may increase/decrease contaminant toxicity. These reactions include adsorption/desorption, precipitation, polymerization, dissolution, complexation, and oxidation/reduction. These reactions are often disregarded by scientists and engineers involved with environmental remediation. Understanding these processes enable us to better predict the fate and toxicity of contaminants and provide the knowledge to develop scientifically correct, and cost-effective remediation strategies.


*Anion and cation exchange capacity
*Soil pH
*Mineral formation and transformation processes
*Clay mineralogy
*Sorption and precipitation reactions in soil
*Oxidation-reduction reactions
*Chemistry of problem soils


* Sonon, L. S. , M. A. Chappell and V.P. Evangelou (2000) [ The History of Soil Chemistry] . Url accessed on 2006-04-11


* Alexander, 1977, Soil Microbiology, 2nd Ed., Wiley Interscience
* Bohn, McNeal, and O'Connor, 1985, Soil Chemistry, 2nd Ed, Wiley Interscience
* Bolt and Bruggenwert, 1976, Soil Chemistry. A. Basic Elements, Elsevier
* Cresser, Killham, and Edwards, 1993, Soil Chemistry and its applications, Cambridge
* Davis and Hayes, 1986, Geochemical Processes at Mineral Surfaces, American Chemical Soc.
* Dixon and Weed, 1989, Minerals in Soil Environments, Soil Sci. Soc. America
* Essington, 2003, Soil and Water Chemistry: An Integrative Approach, CRC Press
* Harter, 1986, Adsorption Phenomena, Van Nostrand Reinhold
* Lindsay, Willard L. 1979, Chemical Equilibria in Soils, Wiley Interscience
* McBride, Murray M. 1994. Environmental Chemistry of Soils, Oxford
* Schulthess, C.P. 2005. [ Soil Chemistry with Applied Mathematics] . Trafford Publishing, Victoria, BC, Canada.
* Sparks, D.L. 1989, Kinetics of Soil Chemical Processes, Academic Press
* Sparks, D.L. 1999, Soil Physical Chemistry, CRC Press
* Sparks, D. L. 2003, Environmental Soil Chemistry, Academic Press
* Sposito, G. 1984, The Surface Chemistry of Soils, Oxford Press
* Sposito, G., 1989,The Chemistry of Soils, Oxford University Press
* Tan, Kim H., 1993, Principles of Soil Chemistry, 2nd Ed., Marcel Dekker
* Wild, 1988, Russell's Soil Conditions and Plant Growth, 11th Ed., Longman
* Wolt, Jeffrey D. 1994, Soil Solution Chemistry: Applications to Environmental Science and Agriculture, John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

External links

* [ SSSA - Div. S-2 Soil Chemistry]
* [ Council of Soil Science Examiners] (CSSE): Minimum Competencies in Soil Chemistry and Mineralogy [ Q.] & [ A.]
* [ Soil Chemistry] in [ Encyclopedia of Soil Science]

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