The zinc (Zn) content of particle size fractions of 12 mainly Zn deficient soils was measured by extraction with three contrasting extractants. The soils, which ranged from sands to a black earth, were from Western Australia and Queensland and particle size fractions (clay, silt, fine sand, coarse sand) were obtained by sieving and sedimentation after ultrasonification of soil suspended in deionized water. The extractants were concentrated HNO3/H2SO4/HClO4 (acid extractable or AE-Zn), DTPA and 0.002 M CaCl2. For each extractant, Zn contents of the fractions and whole soils were correlated with organic carbon and ammonium oxalate extractable Fe and Al.
The AE-Zn concentrations in whole soils were 0.6-132 mg kg-1 and high clay soils had higher concentrations (mean 54 mg kg-1) than low clay soils (mean 2 mg kg-1). After fractionation, lowest AE- and DTPA-Zn were found in coarse sand fractions and concentrations increased with decreasing particle size. Clay plus silt fractions contained 60-99% of the whole soil AE-Zn and 76-93% of the whole soil DTPA-Zn. The CaCl2-Zn concentrations were very low (-1) for all soils. In whole soils, DTPA-Zn was only a small proportion, 3.2% and 1.8%, of the AE-Zn in the low clay and high clay soils, respectively. The CaCl2-Zn was generally less than 2% of the DTPA-Zn in whole soils.
In whole soils, AE-Zn was correlated with oxalate extractable Fe and with oxalate A1 (r = 0.72 and 0.71, respectively; P 2-Zn were not correlated with AE-Zn content, nor was DPTA-Zn correlated with CaCl2-Zn in whole soils or fractions (P
Dispersion of the soils with ultrasonification in the absence of dispersing agents was not as effective as dispersion with conventional mechanical/chemical dispersion. The percentage of the soil recovered in the clay fraction after sonification was 23-78% of that recovered by the conventional method. Fine and coarse sand contents were similar for either method, indicating that incomplete dispersion of clay by ultrasonification resulted in higher silt contents.
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