Author(s): Mitchell RL, Burridge JC
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Abstract To demonstrate the total amounts to be expected in soils, the ranges of contents of some 60 trace elements in ten representative Scottish arable surface soils are compared with ranges in soil-forming rocks and with crustal averages. It is, however, the amounts potentially available to plants rather than the total contents that are biologically significant. In temperate climates, trace element mobilization is greatest when weathering takes place under conditions of impeded pedological drainage, leading to the formation of gleyed soils. Mobilized trace elements occur in arable surface soils largely in adsorbed and chelated forms, which are available to plants to a greater or smaller extent depending on the prevailing soil parameters and on the element in question. Different species take up different amounts of trace elements: the proportions in the various plant parts vary with the element and the stage of growth. Information is required about the mobilization and uptake of many elements about which little is at present known but which may affect the functions of essential elements through inter-element interactions. Systematic soil surveys in which soils are mapped by associations related to parent material, with their series related to genetic soil types, provide a useful countrywide guide to trace element status.
This article was published in Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci
and referenced in Journal of Geology & Geophysics