Nature, properties and function of aluminum-humus complexes in volcanic soils

Tadashi Takahashi, Randy A. Dahlgren

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Andosols (or Andisols) possess several distinctive properties that are rarely found in other groups of soils. These properties are largely due to the dominance of short-range-ordered minerals (allophane, imogolite and ferrihydrite) and/or metal-humus complexes (Al/Fe-humus complexes) in their colloidal fraction. While several papers have extensively reviewed the nature and properties of short-range-ordered minerals, there is no comprehensive review of the genesis, characteristics and management implications of Al-humus complexes, the dominant form of active Al in non-allophanic Andosols. In this review, we survey the chemical characteristics of Al-humus complexes and discuss the pedogenic environment favoring their formation in non-allophanic Andosols. The role of Al-humus complexes in carbon cycling and soil organic carbon accumulation is emphasized as an important mechanism controlling organic dynamics in Andosols. While non-allophanic Andosols share many common properties with allophanic Andosols, they display several distinct characteristics associated with Al-humus complexes, such as strong acidity and high exchangeable Al content that impair agricultural productivity due to Al phytotoxicity. Thus, we focus on the role of Al-humus complexes in regulating aqueous Al3+ solubility and release/retention kinetics, Al phytotoxicity, phosphorus dynamics, and suppression of soil-borne diseases. Knowledge of these soil properties as related to Al-humus complexes is necessary to develop effective soil management practices to assure sustainable agricultural productivity in non-allophanic Andosols. Finally, future research needs are identified concerning the role of Al-humus complexes in regulating soil biogeochemical processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-121
Number of pages12
JournalGeoderma
Volume263
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb 1

Keywords

  • Aluminum phytotoxicity
  • Aluminum solubility
  • Andisols
  • Non-allophanic andosols
  • Phosphorus dynamics
  • Soil borne diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science

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