Impact of Acidification on Soil Organic Carbon and Plant Biomass Production During the Short-Term Pot Experiment


  • Radoslava Kanianska Matej Bel University Banská Bystrica - Faculty of Natural Sciences – Department of Environment, Banská Bystrica
  • Jarmila Makovníková National Agricultural and Food Centre - Soil Science and Conservation Research Institute Bratislava, Regional Station Banská Bystrica
  • Miriam Kizeková National Agricultural and Food Centre - Grassland and Mountain Agriculture Research Institute, Banská Bystrica



acidification, soil organic carbon, organic matter quality, pH


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of simulated acid load on soil organic carbon and plant biomass production. A short-term pot experiment with spring barley was conducted on 6 different soil types (Chernozem, Fluvisol, Eutric Cambisol, Stagnosol, Dystric Cambisol, Podzol). Two treatments were applied (A: watering with distilled water of pH 5.4; B: watering with acid solution of pH 2.5). Due to the acid watering, a pH decreased in all six soil types. Acid load enhanced aboveground dry matter biomass production at all six soil types. TOC stock increased in both treatments in all soil types with the exception of Eutric Cambisol. Results of humic-fulvic acid ratio showed that acid load caused deterioration of organic matter quality in four soil types and improvement in two soil types. 


ADANI F., SPAGNOL M., NIEROP K. (2007) Biochemical origin and refractory properties of humic acid extracted from maize plants: the contribution of lignin. Biochemistry, 82/1.

BARAK P., JOBE B.O., KRUEGER A.R. (1997) Effect of long-term soil acidification due to nitrogen fertilizer inputs in Wisconsin. Plant and Soil, 197: 61-69.

BRADY N.C., WEIL R.R. (2008) The Nature and Properties of Soils. Prentice-Hall Press, New York.

FENTON G., HELYAR K. (2002) The role of the nitrogen and carbon cycles in soil acidification. In: Acid Soil Action Research Report 2002:183-199.

HOLLAND E.A. (1997) Variations in the predicted spatial distribution of atmospheric nitrogen deposition and their impact on carbon uptake by terrestrial ecosystems. Journal of Geophysical Research, 102:15849-15866.

HÖGBERG P., FAN H., QUIST M., BINKLEY D., TAMM C.O. (2006) Tree growth and soil acidification in response to 30 years of experimental nitrogen loading on boreal forest. Global Change Biology, 12:489-499.

JONES R.J.A, HIEDERER R., RUSCO E., LOVELAND P.J., MONTANARELLA L. (2004) The map of organic carbon in topsoils in Europe. Version 1.2, September 2003: Explanation of Special Publication Ispra 2004 No. 72. European Soil Bureau research report No. 17, Luxembourg, 40 p.

KIM J., CHO S.Y. (2003) A numerical simulation of present and future acid deposition in North East Asia using a comprehensive acid deposition model. Atmospheric environment, 37:3375-3383.

KOCHIAN V. L., HOEKENGA O.A., PINEROS M.A. (2004) How do crop plants tolerate acid soils? Mechanisms of aluminium tolerance and phosphorous efficiency. Plant Biology, 55:459-493.

KONONOVA M.M. (1966) Soil organic matter. Its nature, its role in soil formation and in soil fertility. 2nd English edition, Pergamon Press, London, UK, pp. 544.

KÖGEL-KNABNER I., EKSCHMITT K., FLESSA H., GUGGENBERGER G., MATZNER E., MARSHNER B., LÜTZOW M. (2008) An integrative approach of organic matter stabilization in temperate soils: Linking chemistry, physics, and biology. J. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci., 171:5-13.

LAL R., FOLLET R.F., STEWART B.A., KIMBLE J.M. (2007) Soil carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change and advance food security. Soil Science, 172(12):943-956.

LÜTZOW M., KÖGEL-KNABNER I., EKSHMITT E., MATZNER E., GUGGENBERGER G., MARSCHNER B., FLESSA H. (2006) Stabilization of organic matter in temperate soils: mechanisms and their relevance under different soil conditions – a review. European Journal of Soil Science, 57: 426-445.

MARLER T. E., CRUZ R. (2001) Chemical factors Enhancing Papaya Root Growth in a Tropical Volcanic Acid Subsoil. Hort Science, 36:1037-1038.

MELOUN M., HILL M., MILITKÝ J., KUPKA K. (2001) Analysis of large and Small Samples of Biochemical and Clinical Data. Clin Chem Lab Med, 39(1):53-61.

MONAGHAN R.M., MORRISON J.D., SINCLAIR A.G. (1998) Soil acidification trough carbon cycling in legumes: A pot experiment examining the contributions from white clover, lotus, Caucasian clover, and Lucerne. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research, 41:243-250.

MUELLER K.E., EISSENSTAT D.M., HOBBIE S.E., OLEKSYN J., JAGODZINSKI A.M., REICH P.B., CHADWICK O.A., CHOROVER J. (2012) Tree species effects on coupled cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and acidity in mineral soils at a common garden experiment. Biogeochemistry, 111: 601-614.

NEGTAP - National expert Group on Transboundary Air Pollution (2001) Transboundary Air Pollution: Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level ozone in the UK. CEH, Edinburgh.

NIKITIN V., FISHMAN V. (1969) On the improvement of methods for determination of soil carbon. Chemistry in Agriculture, 3:76-77.

NOBLE A.D., SUZUKI S., SODA W., RUAYSOONGNERM S., BERHELSEN S. (2008) Soil acidification and carbon storage in fertilized pastures of Northeast Thailand. Geoderma, 144(1-2):248-255.

PARTON W.J. (1996) Ecosystem model comparisons: science or fantasy world? In: Evaluation of Soil Organic Matter Models (eds D.S. Powlson, P. Smith, J.U. Smith): 133-142. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

PERSSON T., LUNDKVIST H., WIRÉN A., HYVONEN R., WESSÉN B. (1989) Effects of acidification and liming on carbon and nitrogen mineralization and soil organisms in mor humus. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 45(1-2):77-96.

POST W.M., KWON K.C. (2000) Soil carbon sequestration and land-use change: processes and potential. Global Change Biology, 6:317-327.

RAVENEK J. (2009) C and N mineralization and earthworm populations in a Norway spruce forest at Hasslov (SW Sweden), 25 years after liming. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences Department of Ecology, Uppsala, Sweden, 2009, 34 p.

SCHMIDT M.W.I., TORN M.S., ABIVEN S. (2011) Persistence of soil organic matter as an ecosystem property. Nature, 478:49-56.

TAMM C.O., WIKLANDER G. (1980) Ecological Impact of Acid Precipitation, Proc. Int. Conf. Sandefjord, SNSF project, Norway, p. 188.

TIAN Y., TAKANASHI K., TODA H., HAIBARA K., DING F. (2013) pH and substrate regulation of nitrogen and carbon dynamics in forest soils in a karst region of the upper Yangtze River basin, China. J For Res, 18:228-237.

ULRICH B., SUMNER M.E. (2011) Soil acidity. Springer London, 2011, 237 p. (2011).

WOLTERS, V. 2000. Invertebrate control of soil organic matter stability. Biol Fertil Soils, 31:1-19.

ZECH W., SENESI N., GUGGENBERGER G., KAISER K., LEHMANN J., MIANO T., MILTENER A., SCHROTH G. (1997) Factors controlling humification and mineralization of soil organic matter in the tropics. Geoderma, 79:117-161.

YANG Y., JI C.H., MA S., WANG S., WANG O. S., HAN S., MOHAMMAT A., ROBINSON D., SMITH P. (2012) Significant soil acidification across northern China´s grasslands during 1980s-2000s. Global Change Biology, 18: 2292-2300.




How to Cite

Kanianska, R., Makovníková, J., & Kizeková, M. (2014). Impact of Acidification on Soil Organic Carbon and Plant Biomass Production During the Short-Term Pot Experiment. EQA - International Journal of Environmental Quality, 15(15), 15–24.