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Canadian journal of Soil Sciences
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 89  |  Issue: 2  |  Page No.: 209 - 222

Impact of natural or industrial liming materials on soil properties and microbial activity

Roger Lalande, Bernard Gagnon and Isabelle Royer    

Abstract: Soil acidity is a major problem in agriculture because it limits plant growth and reduces crop productivity. The neutralizing potential of industrial by-products and their impact on soil properties were evaluated in two acidic soils characterized by contrasting textures, and submitted to intensive agriculture practices. Soil pH, microbial (dehydrogenase and alkaline phosphatase) activity, and Mehlich-3 extractable P, K, Ca and Mg were monitored in the year of soil incorporation of eight liming products and in the following 2 yr. In the sandy loam, liming products did not result in significant increases in soil pH in the 0- to 7.5-cm soil layer. Lime mud (LM) significantly increased soil pH by 0.4 units in the 7.5- to 20-cm layer compared with cement kiln dust (CKD). In the silty clay, calcium-phosphate-magnesium (CalPoMag) significantly raised pH by 0.65 units over both natural calcitic lime (NCa) and the magnesium dissolution product (MgD) in the first soil layer, and by 0.5 units over carbide lime (CL) treatment in the second soil layer. Activities of dehydrogenase and alkaline phosphatase were increased to various degrees by all liming materials, especially on the silty clay; LM and CalPoMag were the most beneficial materials. The exception was MgD, which did not result in any impact on microbial activity relative to the control. Both enzymatic activities were related to the increase in soil pH, particularly the alkaline phosphatase. Ion leaching was more pronounced in the sandy loam than in the silty clay soil, where large differences in the Ca and Mg ion levels were still detected in the 20- to 40-cm layer of the sandy loam. In this study, LM and CalPoMag are interesting liming products, particularly in the silty clay soil.

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