Boron chemistry in selected Virginia soils and hydroxy aluminum and iron systems
Greenhouse and laboratory experiments were conducted to investigate the distribution of native B, the availability of native and applied B in 14 Virginia soils and the specific reactions of B in soil and hydroxy Al and Fe systems.
Total B in the 14 soils ranged from 21.5 to 96.3 mg kg⁻¹. Only a small portion of the total B was in soil solution, non-specifically and specifically adsorbed forms and Mn minerals. These fractions of B are readily available to plants. A large part of the total B was associated with non-crystalline and crystalline Al and Fe minerals and soil silicates. These forms of B contribute little to B absorption by plants. Hot water soluble B, NH₄-acetate extractable B, mannitol exchangeable B and Mehlich III extractable B from the soils closely correlated with the concentrations in corn plants from native B in the greenhouse experiment. A yield response of corn plants to B application did not occur on the soils.
Both tissue B concentration from applied B and maximum B adsorption by the soils closely correlated with soil clay, hydroxylamine hydrochloride extractable Mn and NH₄—oxalate (pH 3.25) extractable Al and Fe (under UV light). These data indicated that soil clay and Al-, Fe- and Mn-oxides and hydroxides have high affinities to adsorb B in plant unavailable forms.
Boron adsorption on both gibbsite and goethite was pH and temperature dependent. At pH 6.5, boric acid was major species in the system and B was absorbed by the negatively charged surface of gibbsite and the positively charged surface of goethite. At pH 10, borate was primarily species in the system and B was adsorbed on negatively charged surfaces of both minerals. Boron adsorption was greater at pH 10 than at pH 6.5. An increase in temperature increased B adsorption on both minerals at both pH levels. This indicated that the B adsorption was an exothermic process. Boron adsorption on gibbsite and goethite shifted the ZPC of the minerals downward. This verified that specific B adsorption occurred on the surfaces. Aluminum substitution in goethite increased the affinity of the surface for B adsorption.