Soil Biogeochemical Cycling of Inorganic Nutrients and Metals

Alain F. Plante

Introduction Phosphorus Sulfur

Micronutrients and Trace Metals Environmental Significance of P, S, and Metal Biogeochemistry

Conclusion: Microorganisms as Unifiers of Elemental Cycles in Soil References and Suggested Reading introduction

Soil microorganisms have a profound effect on the transformations involved in a large number of biogeochemical cycles other than C and N, such as the macronu-trients phosphorus (P) and sulfur (S), and various micronutrients and environmental pollutants. A conceptual model for the cycling of a generic nutrient or metal element (Fig. 15.1) illustrates the continuous flow of energy, water, nutrients, and other materials across the ecosystem's boundaries (from Likens and Bormann, 1999). Meteorologic transfers consist of windblown particulate matter, dissolved substances in precipitation, and gases. Geologic fluxes include soluble and partic-ulate matter transported by surface and subsurface water flow and the mass movement of mineral materials during events such as erosion, landslides, or lava flows.

Ecosystem boundary

Atmospheric compartment

Gases & particulates o y

Ecosystem boundary

Organic compartment

Plant biomass


Microbial biomass


Soil organic

& litter

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