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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: PLoS ONE, 01 January 2016, Vol.11(7), p.e0159948
    Description: Matter turnover in soil is tightly linked to soil structure which governs the heterogeneous distribution of habitats, reaction sites and pathways in soil. Thereby, the temporal dynamics of soil structure alteration is deemed to be important for essential ecosystem functions of soil but very little is known about it. A major reason for this knowledge gap is the lack of methods to study soil structure turnover directly at microscopic scales. Here we devise a conceptual approach and an image processing workflow to study soil structure turnover by labeling some initial state of soil structure with small garnet particles and tracking their fate with X-ray microtomography. The particles adhere to aggregate boundaries at the beginning of the experiment but gradually change their position relative to the nearest pore as structure formation progresses and pores are destructed or newly formed. A new metric based on the contact distances between particles and pores is proposed that allows for a direct quantification of soil structure turnover rates. The methodology is tested for a case study about soil compaction of a silty loam soil during stepwise increase of bulk density (ρ = {1.1, 1.3, 1.5} g/cm3). We demonstrate that the analysis of mean contact distances provides genuinely new insights about changing diffusion pathways that cannot be inferred neither from conventional pore space attributes (porosity, mean pore size, pore connectivity) nor from deformation analysis with digital image correlation. This structure labeling approach to quantify soil structure turnover provides a direct analogy to stable isotope labeling for the analysis of matter turnover and can be readily combined with each other.
    Keywords: Sciences (General)
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2011, Vol.10(3), p.1082
    Description: Predicting solute transport through structured soil based on observable structural properties of the material has not been accomplished to date. We evaluated a new approach to predicting breakthrough curves (BTCs) of dissolved chemicals in intact structured soil columns based on attributes of the pore structure at hierarchical spatial scales. The methodology centers on x-ray computed microtomography of a hierarchic suite of undisturbed soil samples (diameters 1, 4.6, 7.5, and 16 cm) to identify the network of pores 〉10 mu m in diameter. The pore structure was quantified in terms of pore size distribution, interface area density, and connectivity. The pore size distribution and pore connectivity were used to set up an equivalent pore network model (PNM) for predicting the BTCs of Br (super -) and Brilliant Blue FCF (BB) at unsaturated, steady-state flux. For a structured silt loam soil column, the predictions of Br (super -) tracer breakthrough were within the variation observed in the column experiments. A similarly good prediction was obtained for Br (super -) breakthrough in a sandy soil column. The BB breakthrough observed in the silt loam was dominated by a large variation in sorption (retardation factors between R = 2.9 and 24.2). The BB sorption distribution coefficient, k (sub d) , was measured in batch tests. Using the average k (sub d) in the PNM resulted in an overestimated retardation (R = 28). By contrast, breakthrough of BB in the sandy soil (experimental R = 3.3) could be roughly predicted using the batch test k (sub d) (PNM simulation R = 5.3). The prediction improved when applying a sorption correction function accounting for the deviation between measured interface area density distribution and its realization in the network model (R = 4.1). Overall, the results support the hypothesis that solute transport can be estimated based on a limited number of characteristics describing pore structure: the pore size distribution, pore topology, and pore-solid interfacial density.
    Keywords: Soils ; Bad Lauchstadt Germany ; Boundary Conditions ; Breakthrough Curves ; Bromine ; Central Europe ; Central Germany ; Chemical Dispersion ; Chernozems ; Computed Tomography ; Convection ; Density ; Dye Tracers ; Equations ; Europe ; Experimental Studies ; Fuhrberg Germany ; Germany ; Halogens ; Image Analysis ; Laboratory Studies ; Lower Saxony Germany ; Microtomography ; Minckowski Functions ; Morphology ; Networks ; Podzols ; Porosity ; Quantitative Analysis ; Saxony-Anhalt Germany ; Simulation ; Soils ; Solute Transport ; Spectra ; Tomography ; Topology ; Transport ; X-Ray Spectra;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
    Source: CrossRef
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2013, Vol.12(4), p.0
    Description: The hydraulic behavior of soil is determined by its hydraulic properties and their variability in space. In agricultural soils, this heterogeneity may stem from tillage or may have natural origin. The root distribution of plants will adapt to some extent to this soil heterogeneity. However, the combined impact of soil heterogeneity and root water uptake (RWU) on long-term soil water budgets has not received much attention. Numerical experiments helped identify how soil heterogeneity affects plant transpiration, soil evaporation, and groundwater recharge. Two-dimensional virtual soils with hierarchical heterogeneity, both natural and tillage induced, served as a basis for modeling soil water dynamics for a 10-yr climate record from two weather stations in Germany that vastly differ in annual precipitation. The complex interactions between soil and vegetation were explored by (i) comparing different RWU strategies (depth-, structure-, and time-dependent root profiles), (ii) land use types (perennial grass and annual winter crops), (iii) a combination of textures (silt above sand and sand above loam), and (iv) RWU with or without a compensation mechanism. The simulations were repeated with one-dimensional, effective representations of these virtual soils. In the framework of hydropedology, this study shed some light on the interaction between plants and pedological features and its impact on the macroscopic soil water budget. We demonstrated that land use has a major impact on the annual water balance through the partitioning of evapotranspiration into bare soil evaporation and plant transpiration. Compensational RWU becomes important for the annual water balance when the root zone comprises contrasting materials with respect to water holding capacity. Soil heterogeneity has in fact a minor impact on long-term soil water budgets. As a consequence, the relative contribution of plant transpiration, soil evaporation, and groundwater recharge to the total soil water loss was well reproduced by simulations in one-dimensional effective soil profiles. This advocates the application of one-dimensional soil-atmosphere-vegetation transfer (SVAT) models at larger scales. These findings only hold for assumptions made in our numerical simulations including flat area without lateral flow and no macropore flow.
    Keywords: Environmental Geology ; Soils ; Atmosphere ; Boundary Conditions ; Central Europe ; Eastern Germany ; Europe ; Field Studies ; Germany ; Grain Size ; Heterogeneity ; Hydrodynamics ; Hydrology ; Hydropedology ; Julicher Borde Germany ; Land Use ; Magdeburg Germany ; Mapping ; North Rhine-Westphalia Germany ; Numerical Models ; One-Dimensional Models ; Rhizosphere ; Saxony-Anhalt Germany ; Scale Factor ; Size Distribution ; Soil-Atmosphere-Vegetation Transfer ; Soils ; Topography ; Two-Dimensional Models ; Unsaturated Zone ; Vegetation ; Water Balance ; Western Germany;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
    Source: CrossRef
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  • 4
    In: Soil Science, 2012, Vol.177(1), pp.1-11
    Description: ABSTRACT: It is important to understand the impact of texture and organic carbon (OC) on soil structure development. Only few studies investigated this for silt-dominated soils. In this study, soil physical properties were determined on samples from a controlled experiment (Static Fertilization Experiment, Bad Lauchstädt, Germany) on a loess soil that started more than 100 years ago with six different combinations of organic and mineral fertilizers. The parameters measured include soil texture, water retention curve, air-connected porosity, gas diffusion coefficient, air permeability, and saturated hydraulic conductivity. The management resulted in a distinct gradient in OC. A bulk density gradient developed from differences in amount of clay not complexed with OC. This gradient in bulk density mainly affected content of pores larger than 3 μm. The air-connected porosity measured by a pycnometer was highly similar to the total air-filled porosity calculated from gravimetric water content. For all six treatments, diffusivities and permeabilities were quite similar; both suggested that air-filled pore space was inactive for gas transport for air saturation below 0.1, but became highly connected around 0.2 to 0.25. Furthermore, diffusion data from intact cores compared well with data from repacked samples measured at low air-filled porosities and another high-silt soil (Yolo silt loam, USA) measured at higher air-filled porosities. A two-parameter fitting model was used to analyze gas diffusion coefficient data; the model pore-connectivity factor was fairly constant, whereas the water blockage factor was markedly different. Water and air parameters both implied that change in bulk density was the major driver for diffusive and convective parameters in the experiment.
    Keywords: Soil Sciences ; Physical Properties ; Carbon ; Porosity ; Diffusion;
    ISSN: 0038-075X
    E-ISSN: 15389243
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Geoderma, April 2014, Vol.217-218, pp.181-189
    Description: The study characterized soil structure development and evolution in six plots that were amended with varying amounts of animal manure (AM) and NPK fertilizer over a period of 106 years in a long-term fertilization experiment in Bad Lauchstädt, Germany. Two intact soil cores (10-cm diameter and 8-cm tall) and bulk soil samples were extracted from a depth between 5 and 15-cm from each plot. Soil properties including texture, organic carbon, soil–water characteristic, air permeability and diffusivity were measured and analyzed along with X-ray computed tomography (CT) data. Long-term applications of AM and NPK had a major impact on soil organic carbon content which increased from 0.015 kg kg (unfertilized plot) to 0.024 kg kg (well fertilized plot, 30 T ha 2y AM with NPK). Total porosity linearly followed the organic carbon gradient, increasing from 0.36 to 0.43 m m . The water holding capacity of the soil was considerably increased with the increase of AM and NPK applications. Gas diffusivity and air permeability measurements clearly indicated that the level of soil aeration improved with increasing AM and NPK fertilizer amount. The three-dimensional X-ray CT visualizations revealed higher macroporosity and biological (earthworm) activity in the well fertilized areas when compared to plots without or only a small amount of fertilizer applied. A combined evaluation of the soil water characteristic, gas transport and X-ray CT results suggested that pore size distributions widened, and pore connectivity was significantly improved with increasing fertilizer amount. Furthermore, the soils fertilized with both AM and NPK showed a more aggregated structure than soils amended with AM only.
    Keywords: Animal Manure ; Npk Fertilizers ; Soil–Water Characteristic ; Gas Diffusivity ; Air Permeability ; X-Ray Computed Tomography ; Agriculture
    ISSN: 0016-7061
    E-ISSN: 1872-6259
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  • 6
    Language: English
    In: Frontiers in Environmental Science, 01 April 2018, Vol.6
    Description: Soil-borne nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions have a high spatial and temporal variability which is commonly attributed to the occurrence of hotspots and hot moments for microbial activity in aggregated soil. Yet there is only limited information about the biophysical processes that regulate the production and consumption of N2O on microscopic scales in undisturbed soil. In this study, we introduce an experimental framework relying on simplified porous media that circumvents some of the complexities occuring in natural soils while fully accounting for physical constraints believed to control microbial activity in general and denitrification in particular. We used this framework to explore the impact of aggregate size and external oxygen concentration on the kinetics of O2 consumption, as well as CO2 and N2O production. Model aggregates of different sizes (3.5 vs. 7 mm diameter) composed of porous, sintered glass were saturated with a defined growth medium containing roughly 109 cells ml−1 of the facultative anaerobic, nosZ-deficient denitrifier Agrobacterium tumefaciens with N2O as final denitrification product and incubated at five different oxygen levels (0–13 vol-%). We demonstrate that the onset of denitrification depends on the amount of external oxygen and the size of aggregates. Smaller aggregates were better supplied with oxygen due to a larger surface-to-volume ratio, which resulted in faster growth and an earlier onset of denitrification. In larger aggregates, the onset of denitrification was more gradual, but with comparably higher N2O production rates once the anoxic aggregate centers were fully developed. The normalized electron flow from the reduced carbon substrate to N-oxyanions (edenit-/etotal- ratio) could be solely described as a function of initial oxygen concentration in the headspace with a simple, hyperbolic model, for which the two empirical parameters changed with aggregate size in a consistent way. These findings confirm the important role of soil structure on N2O emissions from denitrification by shaping the spatial patterns of microbial activity and anoxia in aggregated soil. Our dataset may serve as a benchmark for constraining or validating spatially explicit, biophysical models of denitrification in aggregated soil.
    Keywords: Greenhouse Gas Emissions ; Denitrification Kinetics ; Microbial Hotspots ; Microsites ; Anoxic Aggregate Centers ; Agrobacterium Tumefaciens ; Environmental Sciences
    E-ISSN: 2296-665X
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  • 7
    Language: English
    In: Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, December 2016, Vol.195, pp.31-39
    Description: Engineered nanoparticles released into soils may be coated with humic substances, potentially modifying their surface properties. Due to their amphiphilic nature, humic coating is expected to affect interaction of nanoparticle at the air-water interface. In this study, we explored the roles of the air-water interface and solid-water interface as potential sites for nanoparticle attachment and the importance of hydrophobic interactions for nanoparticle attachment at the air-water interface. By exposing Ag nanoparticles to soil solution extracted from the upper soil horizon of a floodplain soil, the mobility of the resulting “soil-aged” Ag nanoparticles was investigated and compared with the mobility of citrate-coated Ag nanoparticles as investigated in an earlier study. The mobility was determined as a function of hydrologic conditions and solution chemistry using column breakthrough curves and numerical modeling. Specifically, we compared the mobility of both types of nanoparticles for different unsaturated flow conditions and for pH = 5 and pH = 9. The soil-aged Ag NP were less mobile at pH = 5 than at pH = 9 due to lower electrostatic repulsion at pH = 5 for both types of interfaces. Moreover, the physical flow field at different water contents modified the impact of chemical forces at the solid-water interface. An extended Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (eDLVO) model did not provide satisfactory explanation of the observed transport phenomena unlike for the citrate-coated case. For instance, the eDLVO model assuming sphere-plate geometry predicts a high energy barrier (〉 90 ) for the solid-water interface, indicating that nanoparticle attachment is less likely. Furthermore, retardation through reversible sorption at the air-water interface was probably less relevant for soil-aged nanoparticles than for citrate-coated nanoparticles. An additional cation bridging mechanism and straining within the flow field may have enhanced nanoparticle retention at the solid-water interface. The results indicate that the mobility of engineered Ag nanoparticles is sensitive to solution chemistry, especially pH and the concentration of multivalent cations, and to the unsaturated flow conditions influencing particle interaction at biogeochemical interfaces.
    Keywords: Unsaturated Transport ; Water Dynamics ; Cation Bridging ; Amphiphilic ; Edlvo ; Engineering ; Environmental Sciences ; Geography
    ISSN: 0169-7722
    E-ISSN: 1873-6009
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Geoderma, 01 July 2019, Vol.345, pp.63-71
    Description: Soil structure is not static but undergoes continuous changes due to a wide range of biotic and abiotic drivers such as bioturbation and the mechanical disturbance by tillage. This continuous alteration of soil structure beyond the pure swelling and shrinking of some stable structure is what we refer to as soil structure dynamics. It has important consequences for carbon turnover in soil as it controls how quickly soil organic matter gets occluded from or exposed to mineralization. So far there are hardly any direct observations of the rate at which soil pores are formed and destroyed. Here we employ are recently introduced labeling approach for soil structure that measures how quickly the locations of small garnet particles get randomized in soil as a measure for soil structure dynamics. We investigate the effect of desiccation crack dynamics on pore space attributes in general and soils structure turnover in particular using X-ray microtomography for repeated wetting-drying cycles. This is explored for three different soils with a range of soil organic matter content, clay content and different clay mineralogy that were sieved to a certain aggregate size fraction (0.63–2 mm) and repacked at two different bulk density levels. The total magnitude of desiccation crack formation mainly depended on the clay content and clay mineralogy. Higher soil organic matter content led to a denser crack pattern with smaller aperture. Wetting-drying cycles did not only effect visible macroporosity (〉8 μm), but also unresolved mesoporosity. The changes in macroporosity were higher at lower bulk density. Most importantly, repeated wetting-drying cycles did not lead to a randomization of distances between garnet particles and pores. This demonstrates that former failure zones are reactivated during subsequent drying cycles. Hence, wetting-drying resulted in reversible particle displacement and therefore would not have triggered the exposure of occluded carbon that was not already exposed during the previous drying event.
    Keywords: Soil Structure ; Desiccation Cracks ; X-Ray Tomography ; Macropores ; Clay Mineralogy ; Carbon Turnover ; Agriculture
    ISSN: 0016-7061
    E-ISSN: 1872-6259
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2009, Vol.8(3), p.805
    Description: It has been speculated that during periods of water deficit, roots may shrink and lose contact with the soil, with a consequent reduction in root water uptake. Due to the opaque nature of soil, however, this process has never been observed in situ for living plants. Through x-ray tomography and image analysis, we have demonstrated the formation and dynamics of air gaps around roots. The high spatial resolution required to image the soil–root gaps was achieved by combining tomography of the entire sample (field of view of 16 by 16 cm, pixel side 0.32 mm) with local tomography of the soil region around the roots (field of view of 5 by 5 cm, pixel side 0.09 mm). For a sandy soil, we found that when the soil dries to a water content of 0.025 m3 m–3, gaps occur around the taproot and the lateral roots of lupin (Lupinus albus L.). Gaps were larger for the taproot than the laterals and were caused primarily by root shrinkage rather than by soil shrinkage. When the soil was irrigated again, the roots swelled, partially refilling the gaps; however, large gaps persisted in the more proximal, older part of the taproot. Gaps are expected to reduce water transfers between soil and roots. Opening and closing of gaps may help plants to prevent water loss when the soil dries, and to restore the soil–root continuity when water becomes available. The persistence of gaps in the more proximal parts is one reason why roots preferentially take up water from their more distal parts. ; Includes references ; p. 805-809.
    Keywords: Soil Water Content ; Roots ; Soil-Plant Interactions ; Shrinkage ; Plants ; Translocation (Plant Physiology) ; Lupinus Albus ; Forage Legumes ; Spatial Variation ; Drought ; Water Stress ; Sandy Soils ; Water Uptake ; Computed Tomography ; Forage Crops ; Image Analysis ; Taproots;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
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  • 10
    Language: English
    In: Geoderma, 15 July 2019, Vol.346, pp.52-62
    Description: Some soil physical properties can easily be measured using classical laboratory methods. However, explicit valuable information on the real morphology of the pore structure as well as soil physical properties cannot be obtained at the same time with classical methods. This requires non-destructive measurements such as X-ray computed tomography (CT). However, explicit valuable information on the real morphology of the pore structure as well as soil physical properties cannot be obtained at the same time with classical methods. This paper combines parameters obtained from CT analysis (mean macropore diameter, macroporosity, pore connectivity, anisotropy) and classical laboratory methods (dry bulk and aggregate density, saturated hydraulic conductivity, mechanical precompression stress) to analyse soil compaction, exemplified on samples from two tillage treatments (cultivator and plough) and at two moisture states (6 and 1000 kPa matric potential) on a Chernozem collected at a soil depth of 16–22 cm (texture 0–30 cm: silty clay loam). The study shows that the matric potential can have a decisive impact on the mechanical stability of soil. In the loose but less stable plough treatment a more negative matric potential was clearly beneficial to the mechanical stability. In already dense soil structures, as in the cultivator treatment, a reduction of water content was less effective in increasing soil stability. The CT parameters were all closely and uniquely related to each other. The shown CT parameters can be used for a standardized characterization of the soil. Ploughing has a positive effect on soil structure which persists only as long as macroporosity and mean macropore diameter remain high. Plough maintains higher pore connectivity when compacted under dry conditions.
    Keywords: X-Ray CT ; Mechanical Soil Analysis ; Conservation Tillage ; Conventional Tillage ; Soil Compaction ; Precompression Stress ; Agriculture
    ISSN: 0016-7061
    E-ISSN: 1872-6259
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