Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo]]> vol. 43 num. lang. <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Genesis and Classification of Nitisols from Volcano-Sedimentary Lithology in Northeastern Brazil]]> ABSTRACT On the southern coast of Pernambuco State (PE), Brazil, lithotypes of the Cabo Basin (volcanic and sedimentary rocks), in association with the relief, allow the determination of the dynamics of the formation of Nitossolos Háplicos (Nitisols), including those with high levels of exchangeable aluminum. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of lithological diversity (basalt and sedimentary siliciclastic rocks) on the morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical properties of Nitossolos Háplicos along a slope (P1-summit, P2-backslope, P3-footslope) on the southern coast of PE, in order to consider its genesis and the relation of soil properties to adjacent environments and to evaluate its framing within the Brazilian Soil Classification System (SiBCS). The interaction of lithology/soil permeability and climate indicate significant differences in the mineralogical composition and dynamics of soil chemical elements. The profiles P1 and P2 are subject to monosialitization, ferralitization, and alitization processes. All profiles showed high Fe contents (ferric soils) and clay fractions, consisting primarily of kaolinite, goethite, hematite, and gibbsite, as well as quartz and feldspar in the sand and silt fractions. However, smectite minerals (P3) are probably inherited from the sedimentary source material. In the conglomerate samples, under P3, biotite, muscovite, and plagioclase were identified. Allytic characteristics (P3) are probably associated with the weathering of aluminous smectite minerals. These properties distinguish these soils from adjacent Nitossolos and other Nitossolos in Brazil. For the classification of soils according to SiBCS, considering the high levels of Fe and Al, Nitossolo Háplico distroférrico (P1 and P2) and Nitossolo Háplico alitiférrico (P3) are suggested, and according to the World Reference Base of Soils (WRB), the soils are classified as Ferritic Nitisols. <![CDATA[Effects of Simulated Nitrogen Deposition and Precipitation Manipulation on Soil Microorganisms in the Desert Steppe of Northern China]]> ABSTRACT: Soil microorganisms are influenced by climate change. However, the effect of climate change on soil cultivable bacteria are unclear. In this study, the composition and diversity of the soil cultivable bacterial community were explored by a dilution–plate method, PCR, and 16S rRNA sequencing in a desert steppe of northern China after repeated NH4NO3 amendments and precipitation manipulation for seven years. The experimental treatments were as follows: control (CK), N addition (+N), N addition plus water addition (+N+W), and N addition plus water reduction (+N-W). Among the treatment groups, 11 genera and 17 bacterial species were isolated. Nitrogen addition and precipitation manipulation significantly increased the number of cultivable bacteria in the 0.00-0.30 m layer compared to CK. Compared to +N treatment, the +N+W and +N–W treatments had no significant impact on the number of cultivable bacteria. Compared to the CK community, bacterial communities exposed to the other three treatments did not show shifts in the relative abundance of dominant genera and other cultivable bacteria, except for Pontibacter and Staphylococcus. The treatments +N+W and +N-W significantly modified the relative abundance of Pontibacter and Staphylococcus compared to the +N treatment. Available potassium and phosphorus, and moisture content contributed to the change in the composition of the cultivable bacterial community (p&gt;0.05). Nitrogen addition and precipitation manipulation significantly decreased species richness in the 0.00-0.02 m layer, but they did not affect evenness and the Shannon-Wiener Index in the 0.00-0.30 m layer. This study provides insights into how the composition and diversity of the bacterial community is affected by climate change scenarios. <![CDATA[Do Aggregate Size Classes of the Subsurface Soil Horizon Have Different Chemical/Mineralogical Properties?]]> ABSTRACT Variations in chemical and mineralogical properties of a soil can occur at short vertical and horizontal distances. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the chemical and mineralogical soil properties of different aggregate classes from young (Ustrochrept) and highly weathered (Acrustox) soils from the state of Paraná, Brazil. Undisturbed blocks (0.20 ×0.20 ×0.20 m) of soils were separated into aggregate classes: Acrustox – 8.0-4.0 mm; 4-2 mm; 2.0-0.5 mm; 0.5-0.2 mm; and &lt;0.2 mm; and Ustrochrept – 8.0-4.0 mm; 4.0-2.0 mm; 2.0-0.5 mm; and 0.5-0.2 mm. The exchangeable K contents showed an opposite behavior for the two soils: higher contents in the Acrustox for the larger aggregate classes and higher contents in the Ustrochrept for the smaller aggregate classes. The crystallographic characteristics of hematite and goethite were variable according to the aggregate class. The goethite in the 2-4-mm aggregate class is expected to exhibit the highest reactivity for the Ustrochrept: lower growth and a more elongated form of the crystals. The smallest aggregate class presented the lowest contents of kaolinite and gibbsite in the clay fraction. Gibbsite and kaolinite in the intermediate classes presented higher growth in both soils. The studied soils present different side-by-side environments (aggregate classes) for the exploration by the root system. This means that for the precise identification of the environments explored by the roots of a single plant, field sampling should consider the aggregate class, obtained from an undisturbed soil sample. However, this is impractical in agricultural practice. <![CDATA[Influence of ZnO Nanoparticles and a Non-Nano ZnO on Survival and Reproduction of Earthworm and Springtail in Tropical Natural Soil]]> ABSTRACT: In recent years, various studies and development using nanoparticles (NPs) have been carried out in the most diverse areas of knowledge. Although nanomaterials are widely employed by many sectors and some may have a fertilizing potential, little is known about their effects on the environment. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of applying, in tropical natural soil, different contents of nanoparticles of zinc oxide (NPs-ZnO) and non-nano zinc oxide (ZnO) on soil pH and on the survival and reproduction rates of earthworms ( Eisenia andrei ) and springtails ( Folsomia candida ) through standardized ecotoxicological tests. The tests used a tropical soil representative of Brazil, classified as Entisol ( Neossolo Quartzarênico órtico típico ) with no history of agricultural use, collected in the 0.00-0.20 m layer, previously sieved (2-mm mesh) and defaunated. The experimental design was completely randomized, and treatments consisted of two forms of zinc (Zn), NPs-ZnO and ZnO, at the following doses: 0, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 2,000, and 4,000 mg kg−1. Standardized ecotoxicological tests showed no toxicity of NPs-ZnO in terms of lethality of E. andrei and F. candida . In E. andrei reproduction tests, NPs-ZnO were toxic at doses higher than 400 mg kg−1 (EC50 of 1,021 mg kg−1). Tests with F. candida demonstrated that its reproduction rate was significantly affected by NPs-ZnO at a rate of 4,000 mg kg−1 (EC50 of 3,636 mg kg−1). When used in Entisol, the NPs-ZnO inhibit the reproduction of earthworms and springtails; earthworms are more sensitive to such an effect, it being demonstrate at lower contents than those found for springtails. <![CDATA[Humic Substances and Chemical Properties of an Acrisol Amended with Vermicomposted Vegetal and Animal Residues]]> ABSTRACT Vermicomposted vegetal and animal residues are rich in nutrients and humic substances and thus can be applied to the soil as a source of functionalized organic matter (OM) and as an alternative to chemical fertilizers. In Southern Brazil, many animal and vegetal residues are easily accessible. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate alterations in soil chemical properties and OM chemical composition in response to the application of local vermicomposted residues. The vermicomposts of: cattle manure (CM), sheep manure (SM), rice parboiling sludge (PS), CM+PS; SM+PS; CM+food waste (FW); SM+FW; CM+fruit waste (FRW); and SM+FRW were mixed with Acrisol (Argissolo) samples collected at 0.00-0.20 m layer, and the samples were incubated in plastic bags for 182 days. Soil samples without vermicomposts were also incubated (control). Overall, vermicomposts increased soil pH(H2O), exchangeable Ca and available P and K contents. The treatments with CM or SM with FW promoted carbon accumulation in the soil compared to the control, especially as humin. The humic acids of SM and PS were more oxygenated than the others, and oxygenation was apparently associated with aromatic structures. Fulvic acids of CM+PS showed the greatest oxygenation and aliphatic character. The relationship between vermicompost origin (animal or vegetal) and soil properties or OM composition was not clear. Aromaticity degree (H/C) and C/N ratio were similar in fulvic and humic acids, and oxygenation degree (O/C) as well as polarity index [(O+N)/C] were more efficient parameters to distinguish these humic fractions. We concluded that vermicomposts derived from cheap and easily available vegetal and animal residues in Southern Brazil have great potential as alternative fertilizers as well as sources of functionalized OM when applied to the soil, especially vermicomposts of rice parboiling sludge and cattle or sheep manure mixed with food waste. <![CDATA[Rhizobial Inoculation and Molybdenum Fertilization in Peanut Crops Grown in a No Tillage System After 20 Years of Pasture]]> ABSTRACT: Peanut (Arachis hypogea) is an important legume grain consumed by humans and utilized for effective nutrient cycling in a diverse cropping system. Areas that have been cultivated with perennial pasture for decades may have nutritional deficiencies and lack a sufficient population of atmospheric nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Molybdenum is an essential micronutrient that is part of the enzyme nitrogenase contained within symbiotic Bradyrhizobium bacteria, which are responsible for fixing nitrogen in legumes. Our objective was to evaluate the effects of application of Mo at different rates and a rhizobial inoculant on peanut growth characteristics. The experiment was conducted in the 2009/2010 growing season in a no-tillage cropping system following 20-year use as pasture [Urochloa brizantha (Syn. Brachiaria brizantha)]. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replicates. The main plots were characterized by peanut inoculation with Bradyrhizobium inoculant or without, and the split plots were characterized by different rates of molybdenum (0, 50, 100, and 200 g ha-1) applied to leaves in the form of ammonium molybdate. The nutritional status of plants, nodulation (number of nodules and nodule dry matter per plant), nitrogenase activity, and nitrogenase specific activity were evaluated at 45 and 64 days after emergence (DAE). The yield components and kernel yield were evaluated at the end of the growing season. Nitrogenase enzyme activity at 64 DAE approximately doubled, and the number of pods per plant was greater with inoculation than without, both of which led to greater yields of pods and kernels. In long-term pasture areas, inoculation and molybdenum fertilization greater than the currently recommended rate appear to be necessary to increase pod and kernel yield per hectare of peanut when managed under no-tillage. <![CDATA[Spatial and Temporal Potential Groundwater Recharge: the Case of the Doce River Basin, Brazil]]> ABSTRACT: Little is known about the groundwater recharge potential of weathered tropical catchments, where increasing water uptake is widespread to meet various water demands. This study aimed to estimate the volume of groundwater recharge of the Doce River Basin, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The BALSEQ model was applied to calculate the water balance over a period of two years (2007-2009). Evapotranspiration, runoff, and potential groundwater recharge (PGR) were calculated, using daily data on rainfall, potential evapotranspiration, and plant-available water. A soil survey was undertaken for all major soils occurring in the basin. Soils samples were used to determine hydraulic conductivity, bulk density, and water content at field capacity and at the permanent wilting point. Vegetation data were obtained from the literature and used to determine the following parameters: canopy interception, crop coefficient, and root depth. The estimated groundwater was spatially predicted using the Random Forests model with digital elevation, vegetation index, pedological, lithological, and climate maps. During the two years, an average of 32 % of rainfall was converted to groundwater. Annually, the percent of rainwater converted to groundwater varied between 27 and 48 % for all soil classes, highlighting the great temporal variability. The spatial prediction showed a volume of approximately 17,484 and 35,410 m3 of rainfall being converted to groundwater for the first and second year, respectively. The BALSEQ model showed a feasibility for the water balance calculation and can be reapplied for updating the groundwater maps of the Doce River Basin. These maps could then be used to guide land use planning programs, with the aim to protect water resources. <![CDATA[Impacts of Pig Slurry Applied to Two Different Soils on Nutrient Transport by Runoff]]> ABSTRACT: Runoff in agricultural areas with intensive application of pig slurry can transport significant amounts of nutrients. This study evaluates the effects of different pig slurry (PS) application rates (0, 50, 100, and 200 m3 ha-1) on nutrient loss through runoff during soybean cultivation under no-tillage. It was conducted at two sites in southern Brazil, one on an Alfisol (27° 43' south and 50° 3' west) and one on an Inceptisol (27° 47' south and 50° 18' west). The PS was applied to the soil once at the beginning of the soybean cycle. Each plot was 11 m long in the direction of the slope and 3.5 m wide. To induce runoff, artificial rainfall was applied in four different tests (T1, T2, T3, T4), with an intensity of 65 mm h-1 for 90 minutes. The first test was performed one day after PS application, while the other tests were performed throughout the soybean cycle. During each test, runoff samples were collected at 10-min intervals after the beginning of runoff. The runoff amount and the NO3-, NH4+, P, and K+ concentrations in the runoff were measured. In T1, nutrient transport from the Alfisol and the Inceptisol increased with increasing PS doses. In some cases, this effect was still noticeable in T2 and T3, but not in the last test (T4). The transported amounts of NO3-, NH4+, P, and K+ decreased as the period between PS application and simulated rainfall increased. Regardless of the soil and the treatment, NO3- was transported in the greatest quantities, followed by K+, NH4+, and P. <![CDATA[Acid Ammonium Citrate as P Extractor for Fertilizers of Varying Solubility]]> ABSTRACT: There are several globally accepted methods to chemically characterize P-fertilizers, but not all are suitable to predict the agronomic efficiency of the P sources in terms of plant nutrition. Our aim was to investigate the performance of P extractors for fertilizers, investigating the consistency of different methods for P sources of varying properties and the related plant responses. The experiment was carried out in a greenhouse, using corn as a model plant. Phosphorus values extractable in water, 2 % citric acid, 2 % formic acid, ammonium neutral citrate + water, and acid ammonium citrate were evaluated for eight P fertilizers of varied solubility and correlated with P uptake by corn. The extractors citric acid and formic acid recovered no predictive amounts of P from crystalline apatite sources (Araxá and Patos phosphate rocks, PRs). However, they showed a satisfactory performance for Bayóvar PR and partially acidulated PRs but extracted low amounts of P from soluble P sources such as superphosphates. Neutral ammonium citrate + water extractors could accurately predict the efficiency of soluble P sources but underestimated the performance of Bayóvar (a reactive PR). In contrast, the extractor acid ammonium citrate, AAC, (pH 3) accurately predicted the agronomic efficiency of all P fertilizers. We therefore suggest AAC as an effective predictor of the agronomic effectiveness of any inorganic phosphorus sources. <![CDATA[Tipping Bucket Prototype for Automatic Quantification of Surface Runoff Rate in Plots]]> ABSTRACT: Quantification of runoff rate is an onerous task with non-automated devices; it requires a lot of manual labor to perform measurements. In this study, an automatic device to quantify the surface runoff rate from plots with a small area was developed and tested. The prototype was based on the tipping bucket technique and built with reused materials. Its performance was tested in the laboratory and a calibration curve was developed to improve measurement accuracy. The device can be used for automatic quantification of surface runoff in small plots, with a flow rate of less than 750 × 103 mm3 min-1. The device can be built with different dimensions to measure different flow rates. In that case, the error measurements and calibration curve must be recalculated. <![CDATA[Potassium Fertilization of <em>Eucalyptus</em> in an Entisol in Low-Elevation Cerrado]]> ABSTRACT Potassium (K) is one of the most highly accumulating nutrients in Eucalyptus and, consequently, is heavily exported by the harvesting of wood. Moreover, its availability in the soil in most Brazilian plantation areas is very low, especially in the regions of the Cerrado biome, which has soils with low natural fertility and marked water deficits, implying a lack of nutrient supply and, consequently, a less efficient water use. Our objective was to evaluate the effects of K fertilization on Eucalyptus biomass yield, the addition of nutrients to the soil by leaf deposition, nutrient use efficiency, and soil K availability. The experiment was conducted with clone I144 (Eucalyptus urophylla) in the municipality of Três Lagoas/MS, in a Neossolo Quartzarênico Órtico (Entisol). The experimental design was a randomized block with four treatments and five replicates. The treatments consisted of four K doses (0, 90, 135, and 180 kg ha-1 of K2O) as KCl. Plant biomass production (leaves, branches, trunk, and bark), senescent leaf deposition, leaf nutrient concentrations, nutrient accumulation in the different plant compartments, nutrient use efficiency, addition of nutrients to the soil by leaf deposition, and soil K availability were evaluated. Potassium fertilization increased the biomass yield of Eucalyptus plants, senescent leaf K content, the transfer of K to the soil, the accumulation of K in the aerial plant parts, and the K content in the soil. However, it did not influence senescent leaf deposition yield or plant K use efficiency. <![CDATA[Crop Yield Responses to Sulfur Fertilization in Brazilian No-Till Soils: a Systematic Review]]> ABSTRACT Sulfur (S) fertilization recommendations for grain crops in Brazil were formerly established from studies on crops with a low yield potential grown on soils under conventional tillage (CT). However, the subsequent adoption of no-tillage (NT) altered S dynamics in the soil, making it necessary to carefully evaluate the applicability of these S fertilizer recommendations. In addition, the emergence of modern high-yield-potential genotypes, the successive application of concentrated low-sulfur fertilizers, and reduction in S atmospheric deposition have raised the likelihood of positive responses of crops to S fertilization. Available literature reports contrasting crop responses to S fertilization in Brazilian soils, ranging from substantial gains to slight yield losses depending on the particular crop, soil, and climate. The primary aim of this study was to examine available data for crop grain responses to S application in NT soils in order to ascertain whether existing recommendations established for Brazilian CT soils also hold for NT soils. A systematic review of data from 35 scientific publications spanning 58 crop harvests revealed a positive yield response to S fertilization in 31 % of the crop harvests, with an average yield increase of 16 %. Crops on soils with available SO42–-S contents above the critical level (viz., 7.5 mg dm-3) exhibited no positive response to S fertilization in any crop harvest (n = 18). Dry edible bean and corn were the most responsive crops, and canola and wheat, the least. For the trials with positive crop responses, a fertilizer rate of 26 kg ha-1 S sufficed to obtain at least 95 % of the maximum possible yield. In general, the S fertilization recommendations previously established for CT soil proved effective with grain crops on NT soils as a result of the critical levels of soil available SO42--S and the fact that the recommended S rates are similar to those found in this study considering trials conducted under NT conditions only. However, existing recommendations could be improved by using additional criteria for soils with available SO42--S contents below the critical level since a positive response was observed in 22 % (n = 18) and 92 % (n = 12) of the crop harvests under a subtropical and a tropical climate, respectively. Our results suggest that S fertilization must be prioritized in NT soils with available SO42--S contents below 7.5 mg dm-3 in the 0.00-0.20 m layer, especially in tropical climate zones. In addition, regional fertilizer recommendation guidelines should consider crop type and yield expectation in order to facilitate more sustainable S management and increased crop yields in Brazil. <![CDATA[Sugarcane Root Development and Yield under Different Soil Tillage Practices]]> ABSTRACT New strategies for sugarcane production have been very important since the incorporation of ethanol in the Brazilian energy mix in the early 1970s. Prior to planting sugarcane, the soil is prepared, and this process can affect root development and, consequently, sugarcane production. This study was conducted in an area of sugarcane crop renewal in the Cerrado biome (Brazilian tropical savanna), with the objective of identifying which tillage system generates the better root development and improved yield in sugarcane. The treatments were: 1) weed desiccation + moldboard plowing (0.4 m) + mild spike tooth harrowing (0.15 m); 2) subsoiler (0.3 m) + mild spike tooth harrowing (0.15 m); 3) weed desiccation + no-tillage (furrow opening and fertilizer); 4) weed desiccation + subsoiler (0.4 m); 5) ratoon destruction + subsoiler (0.4 m); 6) ratoon destruction + spike tooth harrowing (0.2 m) + moldboard plowing (0.4 m) + mild spike tooth harrowing (0.15 m). Characteristics of the sugarcane root system, such as the root length density, average distance between roots, and root soil exploration, after the first harvest (1.5 years) were studied. Root length density was greater for the treatments that included plowing (0.4 m) and harrowing (0.15 m) operations. The average distance between roots was low in the no-tillage system. The highest sugarcane yield in the plant crop was achieved by management practices with more extensive soil profile disturbances, like plowing followed by harrowing. <![CDATA[Phosphorus Fractions in Soil with Organic and Mineral Fertilization in Integrated Crop-Livestock System]]> ABSTRACT Use of organic fertilizers in integrated crop-livestock (iCL) systems may affect soil phosphorus fractions. This study aimed to determine phosphorus fractions in the soil under the iCL system after six years of application of organic or mineral fertilizers. The experiment was conducted on a Rhodic Kandiudox (Nitossolo Vermelho Distroférrico) in a randomized block design, using a 5 × 3 + 1 factorial scheme, with four replicates. The treatments consisted of three organic fertilizers (poultry litter, pig slurry, and compost) and two mineral fertilizers (M1, equivalent to pig slurry; and M2, equivalent to poultry litter) in interaction with three application rates, corresponding to 75, 100, and 150 % of the fertilizer recommendation for the crop of interest and a control (with no fertilizer). Soil sampling was performed in the 0.00-0.05, 0.05-0.10, and 0.10-0.20 m layers for determination of the phosphorus fractions. Successive use of organic or mineral fertilizers for six years in the iCL system considerably raises the labile and moderately labile P fractions up to the 0.20 m depth and, with less intensity, raises the non-labile fractions up to the 0.10 m depth. The soil P increase associated with fertilizer input raises soybean and corn yields, and it does not exceed the critical P limit according to local environmental legislation. <![CDATA[Timing and Splitting of Nitrogen Side-Dress Fertilization of Early Corn Hybrids for High Grain Yield]]> ABSTRACT Currently, most nitrogen fertilizer is side-dressed when corn is in the four (V4) to eight (V8) expanded leaf stage. However, recent studies have shown that modern hybrids take up high amounts of nitrogen during grain filling. This indicates that a late nitrogen fertilization, at the time of crop flowering, may be important to optimize corn agronomic performance. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of the timing and splitting of nitrogen side-dress application on the agronomic performance of early corn hybrids in order to achieve high grain yield. The experiment was set in Lages, Santa Catarina, in the South of Brazil, during the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 growing seasons. A randomized block design arranged in split plots was used. Two hybrids were tested in the main plots: P1680YH (very early) and P30F53YH (early). Six nitrogen side-dress systems were assessed in the split plots: control (without N), full N rate applied at V5, full N rate applied at V10, 1/2 N rate applied at V5 and 1/2 at V10, 1/3 N rate applied at V5, 1/3 at V10 and 1/3 at VT; and the whole N rate applied at VT. The nitrogen rate was 300 kg ha-1 N. Urea was used as the nitrogen source. Total grain yield and yield components, agronomic nitrogen use efficiency, and leaf area were determined. Grain yield ranged from 6,422 to 15,426 kg ha-1 in 2014/2015 and from 9,283 to 14,986 in 2015/2016. Nitrogen side-dress application performed one time at V5 or V10 or split into two or three applications at different growth stages had similar grain yield, number of ears per plant, kernels per ear, and 1,000 grain dry weight. Nitrogen side-dressed entirely at VT led to higher grain yield than the control. However, grain yield and agronomic nitrogen use efficiency were lower in this treatment than in the treatments involving the other growth stages of side-dress nitrogen. The early hybrid was higher yielding than the very early hybrid, regardless of the timing of nitrogen fertilization. Splitting of nitrogen fertilization up to tasseling was not an effective strategy to increase grain yield and agronomic nitrogen use efficiency of the corn hybrids P30F53YH and P1680YH. <![CDATA[Physical, Chemical, and Microbiological Properties of Soil under Different Plant Covers in the Seridó Desertification Region in the Brazilian Semiarid]]> ABSTRACT The Seridó Desertification Region is a result of inadequate management of the native Caatinga vegetation, which generated degraded areas with little or no capacity for plant production. The area has experienced a succession of different land uses, but little is known about the impact of these changes. The present study tested the hypothesis that the intense degradation of the Caatinga drastically decreased vegetal biomass production, which favored direct soil exposure and resulted in a lower abundance and diversity of species and groups of vegetation as well as microorganisms. This study aimed to quantify some of the main physical, chemical, and microbiological properties of Alfisol ( Luvissolo Crômico órtico lítico ) and Entisol ( Neossolo Litólico eutrófico típico ) under different plant covers in the Seridó Desertification Region, in the municipality of Parelhas, in the state of Rio Grande do Norte (RN), Brazil. Three different areas were studied: an area of preserved Caatinga, a recovery area with jurema [ Mimosa tenuiflora (Willd.) Poir.], and a degraded area. Soil samples were collected from the 0.00-0.10 m soil layer and later characterized in terms of their physical and chemical properties. The microbiological characteristics analyzed were microbial activity (microbial biomass carbon and microbial respiration) and glomalin. The soil under the Caatinga vegetation exhibited better properties than the other analyzed soils. Aggregate stability was the physical property with the highest potential for differentiating between areas. Glomalin, which is associated with the presence of mycorrhizae, and which, in turn, is related to the uptake of P, which is often deficient in these soils, was the most discriminating microbiological variable according to an analysis of canonical variables. The total of Ca2+ and Mg2+ was the most discriminating chemical properties, and played a positive role in soil aggregation, especially Ca2+. <![CDATA[Nitrous Oxide Emissions in No-Tillage Onion ( <em>Allium cepa</em> L.) Crops Are Increased by Oilseed Radish Cover Crop and Poultry Manure Application]]> ABSTRACT The use of cover crops and poultry manure (PM) is an alternative to reduce the use of synthetic inputs and can contribute to the nutrient cycling in onions ( Allium cepa L.) grown under a no-tillage system. However, this management practice may contribute to an increase in N2O emissions to the atmosphere. The aims of this study were to evaluate the immediate effect on N2O emissions of adding PM onto cover crop residues and to verify the effect of different no-tillage systems on N2O emissions. Two studies (laboratory and field) were conducted with the addition of oilseed radish (OR), black oat (BO), and weed (WD) residues with and without PM under a no-tillage (NT) system. Emission of N2O (kg ha-1) was influenced by the different residue-management systems and was higher in treatments with OR residues (2.96 ± 0.67 kg ha-1 for OR and 5.28 ± 1.04 kg ha-1 for OR + PM). The other treatments behaved similarly with emissions of approximately 1.91 ± 0.17 kg ha-1 of N-N2O. The highest N2O emissions in the field study were found within the first 15 days and represented 50.3 % of the average emissions. Poultry manure showed high emissions when the cover crop was OR, but not when it was BO and WD. <![CDATA[Does Ferralsol Clay Mineralogy Maintain Potassium Long-Term Supply to Plants?]]> ABSTRACT Ferralsols ( Latossolos ) should contain few or no 2:1 clay minerals and have low potassium (K) contents, and consequently low levels of non-exchangeable K forms are expected. The aim of this study was to evaluate how the clay mineralogy of a Ferralsol affects the soil K dynamics in response to K fertilization during cropping and whether the clay mineralogy was altered due to successive crops and K fertilization. A tropical Brazilian Ferralsol under field conditions was sampled (0.00-0.20 m) in contrasting K fertilization plots: no K application (control plot) and 3,200 kg ha-1 applied K2O fertilizer. These two treatments were submitted at eight different crop cycles, performed in pots under greenhouse conditions, and fertilized with 0, 30, and 90 mg kg-1 K2O before each crop cycle. The biomass K, exchangeable K, non-exchangeable K, and structural K contents were determined after each crop cycle. At the end of the experiment, the presence of 2:1 clay minerals with hydroxy-aluminum interlayered in the soil clay fraction was verified, which ensured K adsorption in a form available to plants when K fertilizer was added. Cropping without K fertilization resulted in limited crop yields and exhausted the exchangeable and non-exchangeable K soil reserves. The previous K fertilization history influenced the soil K reserve and its availability to plants in the Ferralsol studied. The crops without K addition decreased the proportion of 2:1 hydroxy-Al interlayer minerals in the soil in relation to the kaolinite clay minerals. <![CDATA[Optimal Simulation of the Land-Use Structure Based on the Local Ecological Environment: the Case of Huanghua City in Hebei Province, China]]> ABSTRACT The overuse of land has resulted in a sharp decline in ecological functions, affecting the environment as it relates to the existence and sustainable development of the whole biosphere. This work aims to evaluate the ecological and economic efficiencies of the land-use structure. A simulation model, CLUE-S (Conversion of Land-Use and its Effects at Small Region Extent), and an integrated model based on the MOP (Multi-Objective Program) and CLUE-S were applied to assess the suitability of unutilized lands in Huanghua City, China. This was to simulate the optimal structure of land-use in the research zone to avoid loss of the land ecological service functions and the decreasing values with rapid changes in the land-use structure. By the year 2020, the simulation of the single model shows that the economic efficiency is expected to increase, but the ecological efficiency will decline. Depending on the evaluation of the suitability of unutilized land and the optimization results of the integrated MOP- and CLUE-S-based models, the ecological and economic efficiencies are expected to increase by 1.17 and 2.23 %, respectively, compared with those in 2012. In addition, the sum of the two land functions will increase for the integrated MOP- and CLUE-S-based model by the year 2020 compared with the single model. Consequently, the ecological efficiency will significantly increase. However, the optimization solution based on the integrated MOP and CLUE-S model is better than the one based on the CLUE-S model. <![CDATA[Decomposition and Nutrient Release of Cover Crops in Mango Cultivation in Brazilian Semi-Arid Region]]> ABSTRACT Knowledge of the decomposition dynamics of aboveground phytomass and its release of nutrients in mixtures of cover crops as well as the impact on the soil tillage system is fundamental for the sustainable management of agroecosystems. This work aimed to evaluate whether soil tillage and the choice of cover crops cultivated in the interrows can be technological strategies to increase dry biomass production, increase the capacity to add carbon, and improve macronutrient cycling in a mango ( Mangifera indica L.) orchard in a semi-arid environment. The field experiment (sixth year) consisted of two soil tillage systems (NT-no tillage and CT-conventional tillage) combined with three plant mixtures (PM1-75 % leguminous + 25 % grasses and oilseed species, PM2-25 % leguminous + 75 % grasses and oilseed species, and SV - spontaneous vegetation). Phytomass production and nutrient accumulation were not affected by the soil tillage system, but PM1 had the highest phytomass production and accumulations of C, N, and K, and it was significantly superior to SV. Regardless of the type of plant mixture, cultivated or spontaneous, soil tillage increased the rates of phytomass decomposition and nutrient release evaluated for 315 days after the cover plant management. The PM1 had the highest rates of decomposition and release of P and K, followed by PM2 and SV. There was no difference between the mixtures for the release of N, Ca, and Mg. The use of a mixture of cover crops, regardless of the predominance of leguminous or non-leguminous species, and a no-tillage system were technological strategies that could be adopted to favor the addition of soil carbon and nutrient cycling in fruit agroecosystems in the Brazilian semi-arid region. Spontaneous vegetation, due to its capacity to accumulate nutrients and the recalcitrant characteristics of its phytomass, has the potential to cycle nutrients and keep the soil covered. In addition, spontaneous vegetation should be better investigated because it is a low-cost strategy in agroecosystem designs. <![CDATA[Assessment of Trace Element Contents in Soils and Water from Cerrado Wetlands, Triângulo Mineiro Region]]> ABSTRACT In the Brazilian Cerrado biome, there are wetlands locally known as “Veredas”, which are swampy plains between hills and rivers. Since the 1970’s, the Cerrado biome has been gradually converted to livestock, crop, or forestry production. Until now, very few studies were conducted to evaluate the baseline contents of trace elements in Cerrado wetland soils. Due to their position in the landscape (bottom lands), the wetlands are potentially susceptible to contamination by runoff and/or leaching from surrounding areas at higher altitudes. This work evaluated the As, Cd, Pb, Ni, Zn, Cu, Mn, and Fe contents in soils from six wetlands (undisturbed and disturbed) in the Minas Gerais Triangle region, Brazil. In each wetland, we collected topsoil samples (0.00-0.20 m layer) and subsurface samples (0.40-0.70 m layer) at different landscape positions in the wetlands (upper, middle, and bottom positions). The soil samples were air-dried, ground, and sieved through 2-mm mesh. Afterwards, the soil digestion was performed according to the USEPA 3051A protocol, and the trace elements were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry (flame or graphite furnace atomization). Water samples were also collected monthly from September 2014 to September 2015 to determine the elemental composition by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry. The contents of all soil trace elements studied were below the threshold values established by Brazilian guidelines. The soil trace element (cations and/or oxyanions) distributions varied according to soil depth and organic matter content. Our findings contribute to the sparse inventory of Brazilian Cerrado wetlands regarding trace-element contents. <![CDATA[Nitrate Reductase Activity and Nitrogen and Biomass Accumulation in Sugarcane under Molybdenum and Nitrogen Fertilization]]> ABSTRACT Prior research on sugarcane showed increment of productivity following molybdenum (Mo) fertilization and some indication of the potential role either on nitrate reductase activity (NRA). However, this increment can depend on sugarcane variety and nitrogen (N) fertilization. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of Mo fertilization on Mo uptake, on NRA, nitrate (NO3--N), and ammonium (NH4+-N) contents in leaves and roots of sugarcane, and the accumulation of N and biomass across two sugarcane varieties (RB 867515 and RB 92579). The varieties were subjected to two rates of N fertilization (without N fertilization and 60 kg ha-1 of N) and two rates of Mo fertilization (without Mo fertilization and 200 g ha-1 of Mo). At 70, 100, 130, 200, and 365 days after planting (DAP), the following parameters were determined: Mo, NO3--N and NH4+-N contents, NRA in the leaves and roots, and the accumulation of N, as well as shoot dry matter (SDM). Molybdenum fertilization increased N accumulation in 36 and 44 % in the varieties RB 867515 and RB 92579, respectively. This increase in N accumulation was associated with NRA stimulation of 13 % in the leaves and 42 % in the roots. The maximum NRA occurred around 100 DAP, and its contents in the leaves and roots of the RB 92579 were 0.83 and 0.46 µmol NO2- g-1 h-1 of fresh matter, respectively, and in RB 867515 these values were 0.61 and 0.43 µmol NO2- g-1 h-1 of fresh matter, respectively. The assimilation of NO3--N was increased with Mo application, both with and without N fertilization, suggesting that Mo fertilization is indicated in nutrition management of sugarcane. This study provides insight into how Mo fertilization interacts with N fertilization and sugarcane varieties, altering N accumulation and dry matter production. <![CDATA[Reference Values of Grain Nutrient Content and Removal for Corn]]> ABSTRACT: Unchanged reference values of grain nutrient contents for corn have been used for over 20 years, despite yield increases, the development of new hybrids, and modifications to cropping systems, especially the establishment of in-season second crops and the wide adoption of no-tillage. This study measured macro- and micronutrient contents in corn grains from different regions, in the first (summer) and second (fall) crop, to update the reference values of estimated nutrient removal. A secondary objective was to determine whether there were correlations between grain nutrient contents and grain yields and densities. In this study, 175 corn grain samples of experiments on cultivar evaluation and 22 samples from soil management trials from five states (SP, PR, MG, MT, and MS) were used. Grain nutrient contents were ranked as follows: N &gt; K &gt; P &gt; Mg &gt; S (g kg−1) and Ca &gt; Zn &gt; Fe &gt; Mn &gt; B &gt; Cu (mg kg−1). Content values for half of the nutrients analyzed were negatively correlated with yield and/or seed weight, whereas grain density was not correlated with nutrient contents. For the first crop of corn, the N, S, and Cu contents clearly decreased with increases in grain yield and seed weight, indicating a lower nutrient removal at higher yields. The great variability of results among environments makes it difficult to differentiate between the first and second crop of corn. The reference values currently in use overestimate the removal of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, and Zn grain contents, but underestimate Cu and B in corn. The results of this study can be used to update the reference values of nutrient contents of corn grains to better estimate nutrient removal from the soil.