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Soils for Fine Wines$
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Robert E. White

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195141023

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195141023.001.0001

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How the Soil Supplies Nutrients

How the Soil Supplies Nutrients

4 How the Soil Supplies Nutrients
Soils for Fine Wines

Robert E. White

Oxford University Press

Most plants need 16 elements to grow normally and reproduce. Some of these el­ements are required in relatively large concentrations, ideally >1,000 mg/kg (0.1%) in the dry matter (DM); these are called macronutrients. The others, called micronutrients, generally are required in concentrations <100 mg/kg DM (0.01%). Of the essential elements, C and O are supplied as CO2 from the atmosphere, whereas H and O are supplied in H2O from the atmosphere and water sources. Chlorine is also abundant in the air and oceans as the Cl_ ion. Winds whip sea spray containing Cl, Na, Mg, Ca, and S into aerosols to be deposited by rain on the land or as “dry deposition” on vegetation. Nitrogen as N2 gas in the atmo­sphere enters soil–plant systems primarily by “biological fixation” (section, although small amounts are also deposited as NH4+ and NO3­_ ions from the air. Cobalt (Co) is essential for biological N2 fixation in legumes and blue-green al­gae. For the remaining essential elements, the major source is minerals that weather in the soil and parent material. Another term frequently used is trace element, which can include both essen­tial and nonessential elements. A trace element normally occurs at a concentra­tion <1,000 mg/kg in the soil. There are three categories of trace elements: 1. The essential micronutrients Cu, Zn, Mn, B, and Mo, which are beneficial at normal concentrations in the plant (ranging from 0.1 mg/kg for Mo to 100 mg/kg for Mn) but which become toxic at higher concentrations. Iron is the only micronutrient that is not strictly a trace element. 2. Elements such as chromium (Cr), selenium (Se), iodine (I), and Co that are not essential for plants, but are essential for animals. 3. Elements such as arsenic (As), mercury (Hg), cadium (Cd), lead (Pb), and nickel (Ni), which are not required by plants or animals and are toxic to either group at concentrations in the organism greater than a few mg/kg. Trace elements in the soil are normally derived from the parent material. Ex­amples of concentrations of trace elements in soils derived from different parent materials are given in table 4.2.

Keywords:   adsorption, bacteria, calcium, diffuse double layer, immobilization, legumes, macronutrients, nitrate, phytates, sorption

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