A re-examination of exchangeable acidity as extracted by potassium chloride and potassium fluoride
In order to better understand some of the factors likely to affect measurements of KCl extractable acidity, experiments were conducted using synthetic solutions and extracts from a wide range of contrasting soils. The reagents used for measuring exchangeable acidity (i.e., KCl and KF) were also examined to evaluate the effects of chemical impurities on acidity measurements. Two commonly used titrimetric methods were adapted and tested to determine the accuracy and precision of acidity measurements. The exchangeable acidity of soil extracts was investigated by extraction methods, extractant concentration, and extractant volume. Results from the soil extract experiments indicated that continuous shaking has no significant effect on acidity measurements. Filtration, however, is critical, especially for acidic organic-rich soils, since aluminum (Al) ions can be lost during centrifugation. Extractant concentration and volume had variable effects on the acidity measurements for individual soils. In general, the modified Yuan's method is preferable to the modified Thomas' method for estimating exchangeable Al. To ensure successful determination of exchangeable acidity, we recommend using a wider KCl:soil ratio (>15:1, v/w) for organic soils with low base saturation and allophanic Andisols. In sum, potassium chloride and potassium fluoride extraction for estimating exchangeable acidity is applicable for most soils.
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