Effects of recycled bentonite addition on soil properties, plant growth and nutrient uptake in a tropical sandy soil
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The only way to increase the low CEC of sandy tropical soils over the long term is to apply high CEC materials such as 2:1 clay minerals. Acid activated bentonite is used in Thailand in the vegetable oil industry during the clarification process. The waste bentonite is discarded afterwards. The aim of the study was to compare the effects of the addition of these oil bentonites (OB) with the addition of cation beneficiated bentonite (BB) on soil properties and plant growth. Palm, rice and soybean OB, and bentonite beneficiated with calcium, magnesium, and potassium were applied at rates between 5 and 40 t ha−1 to an Arenic Acrisol. Three consecutive crops of sorghum were grown in pots. Biomass and plant nutrient content were determined at each growth phase, and selective soil properties were measured at the start and the end of the study. Beneficiated bentonite was not water repellent, but the addition of OB resulted in soil water repellency. The application of bentonite at the rate of 40 t ha−1 increased the cation exchange capacity (CEC) from 0.6 cmolc kg-1 in the control to 1.9 and 0.7 cmolc kg−1 in the BB and OB, respectiveley. The lower value of the CEC for OB compared to BB was probably due to the activation process and oil coating. OB applications at rates higher than 20 t ha−1 did not increase biomass, and biomass decreased with increasing water repellency. The other treatments produced a higher biomass than the control. However biomass was below potential because of widespread nitrogen deficiency. Exchangeable K was exhausted in two crops, whatever the initial level, stressing the issue of K management in this soil type. Soybean OB is a promising material for soil chemical properties and biomass production, probably because of its low oil content.
Key wordsacrisol bentonite CEC plant nutrition rehabilitation Thailand
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