Soil Chemistry

What is Soil Chemistry?

Soil is a critical part of successful agriculture and is the original source of the nutrients that we use to grow crops. Chemical reactions between the soil solids and the soil solution influence both plant growth and water quality.

Soil chemistry is the branch of soil science that deals with the chemical composition, chemical properties, and chemical reactions of soils. Soils are heterogeneous mixtures of air, water, inorganic and organic solids, and microorganisms (both plant and animal in nature).

Soil carbon is probably the most important component in soils as it affects the soil properties. Carbon as soil organic matter alters the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the soils. Carbon has an atomic number of 6 and in the periodic table it sits relatively middle, in the group of reactive nonmetals.

Carbon has unique properties such as a huge diversity of organic compounds – carbon-hydrogen bonds and carbon-carbon bonds – that it can form. Organic compounds are the key building block in all known life. Carbon also has unusual ability to form polymers in Earth’s temperatures. Polymers are molecule chains that are equally fundamental for life. For instance DNA and proteins are built of bio-polymers.

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