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Scientia Agricola

On-line version ISSN 1678-992X


FONTES, Mauricio Paulo Ferreira  and  ALLEONI, Luís Reynaldo Ferracciú. Electrochemical attributes and availability of nutrients, toxic elements, and heavy metals in tropical soils. Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.) [online]. 2006, vol.63, n.6, pp.589-608. ISSN 1678-992X.

Electrochemical properties of soils are very important for the understanding of the physico-chemical phenomena which affect soil fertility and the availability of nutrients for plants. This review highlights the electrochemical properties of tropical soils, the behavior and the availability of nutrients, toxic elements and heavy metals in the soil, especially for soils with predominant variable charge minerals. Availability of the elements is related to ionic exchange, solution speciation, and electrostatic and specific adsorptive soil properties. Empirical and surface complexation models are briefly described, and some results of their application in tropical soils are presented. A better understanding of the role of the double diffuse layer of charges and CEC on nutrient cation availability for highly weathered soils is required, as well as a solid comprehension of surface complexation models, in order to improve the knowledge regarding the behavior of anions in soils. More studies have to be conducted to generate results that enable the use of chemical speciation concepts and calculation of several constants used in surface complexation models, especially for highly weathered soils from the humid tropics. There has to be a continuing development and use of computer softwares that have already incorporated the concepts of chemical speciation and adsorption models in the study of nutrients, toxic elements and heavy metal availability in the soil-plant system.

Keywords : electric charge; adsorption; model; ionic exchange; speciation.

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