Soil-water characteristic curves (SWCCs) are important in terms of groundwater recharge, agriculture, and soil chemistry. These relationships are also of considerable value in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering. Their measurement, however, is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. Many empirical models have been developed to describe the SWCC. Statistical assessment of soil-water characteristic curve models found that exponential-based model equations were the most difficult to fit and generally provided the poorest fit to the soil-water characteristic data. In this paper, an exponential-based model is devised to describe the SWCC. The modified equation is similar to those previously reported by Gardner (1956) but includes exponential variable. Verification was performed with 24 independent data sets for a wide range of soil textures. Prediction results were compared with the most widely used models to assess the model's performance. It was proven that the exponential-based equation of the modified model provided greater flexibility and a better fit to data on various types of soil.
Pineapples (Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.) cultivation on drained peats could affect the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere and also the leaching of dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Carbon dioxide emission needs to be partitioned before deciding on whether cultivated peat is net sink or net source of carbon. Partitioning of CO2 emission into root respiration, microbial respiration, and oxidative peat decomposition was achieved using a lysimeter experiment with three treatments: peat soil cultivated with pineapple, bare peat soil, and bare peat soil fumigated with chloroform. Drainage water leached from cultivated peat and bare peat soil was also analyzed for DOC. On a yearly basis, CO2 emissions were higher under bare peat (218.8 t CO2 ha/yr) than under bare peat treated with chloroform (205 t CO2 ha/yr), and they were the lowest (179.6 t CO2 ha/yr) under cultivated peat. Decreasing CO2 emissions under pineapple were attributed to the positive effects of photosynthesis and soil autotrophic activities. An average 235.7 mg/L loss of DOC under bare peat suggests rapid decline of peat organic carbon through heterotrophic respiration and peat decomposition. Soil CO2 emission depended on moderate temperature fluctuations, but it was not affected by soil moisture.
The research on damages of structures that are supported by deep foundations has been quite intensive in the past decade. Kinematic interaction in soil-pile interaction is evaluated based on the p-y curve approach. Existing p-y curves have considered the effects of relative density on soil-pile interaction in sandy soil. The roughness influence of the surface wall pile on p-y curves has not been emphasized sufficiently. The presented study was performed to develop a series of p-y curves for single piles through comprehensive experimental investigations. Modification factors were studied, namely, the effects of relative density and roughness of the wall surface of pile. The model tests were subjected to lateral load in Johor Bahru sand. The new p-y curves were evaluated based on the experimental data and were compared to the existing p-y curves. The soil-pile reaction for various relative density (from 30% to 75%) was increased in the range of 40-95% for a smooth pile at a small displacement and 90% at a large displacement. For rough pile, the ratio of dense to loose relative density soil-pile reaction was from 2.0 to 3.0 at a small to large displacement. Direct comparison of the developed p-y curve shows significant differences in the magnitude and shapes with the existing load-transfer curves. Good comparison with the experimental and design studies demonstrates the multidisciplinary applications of the present method.
While the importance of local-scale habitat niches in shaping tree species turnover along environmental gradients in tropical forests is well appreciated, relatively little is known about the influence of phylogenetic signal in species' habitat niches in shaping local community structure. We used detailed maps of the soil resource and topographic variation within eight 24-50 ha tropical forest plots combined with species phylogenies created from the APG III phylogeny to examine how phylogenetic beta diversity (indicating the degree of phylogenetic similarity of two communities) was related to environmental gradients within tropical tree communities. Using distance-based redundancy analysis we found that phylogenetic beta diversity, expressed as either nearest neighbor distance or mean pairwise distance, was significantly related to both soil and topographic variation in all study sites. In general, more phylogenetic beta diversity within a forest plot was explained by environmental variables this was expressed as nearest neighbor distance versus mean pairwise distance (3.0-10.3 % and 0.4-8.8 % of variation explained among plots, respectively), and more variation was explained by soil resource variables than topographic variables using either phylogenetic beta diversity metric. We also found that patterns of phylogenetic beta diversity expressed as nearest neighbor distance were consistent with previously observed patterns of niche similarity among congeneric species pairs in these plots. These results indicate the importance of phylogenetic signal in local habitat niches in shaping the phylogenetic structure of tropical tree communities, especially at the level of close phylogenetic neighbors, where similarity in habitat niches is most strongly preserved.
In acid soils, soluble inorganic phosphorus is fixed by aluminium and iron. To overcome this problem, acid soils are limed to fix aluminium and iron but this practice is not economical. The practice is also not environmentally friendly. This study was conducted to improve phosphorus availability using organic amendments (biochar and compost produced from chicken litter and pineapple leaves, resp.) to fix aluminium and iron instead of phosphorus. Amending soil with biochar or compost or a mixture of biochar and compost increased total phosphorus, available phosphorus, inorganic phosphorus fractions (soluble inorganic phosphorus, aluminium bound inorganic phosphorus, iron bound inorganic phosphorus, redundant soluble inorganic phosphorus, and calcium bound phosphorus), and organic phosphorus. This was possible because the organic amendments increased soil pH and reduced exchangeable acidity, exchangeable aluminium, and exchangeable iron. The findings suggest that the organic amendments altered soil chemical properties in a way that enhanced the availability of phosphorus in this study. The amendments effectively fixed aluminium and iron instead of phosphorus, thus rendering phosphorus available by keeping the inorganic phosphorus in a bioavailable labile phosphorus pool for a longer period compared with application of Triple Superphosphate without organic amendments.
The popularity of low cost, lightweight, and environmentally affable masonry unit in building industry carries the need to investigate more flexible and adaptable brick component as well as to retain the requirements confirmed in building standards. In this study, potential use of local materials used as lightweight building materials in solving the economic problems of housing has been investigated. Experimental studies on peat added bricks have been carried out. It demonstrates the physicomechanical properties of bricks and investigates the influence of peat, sand, and cement solid bricks to the role of various types of constructional applications. The achieved compressive strength, spitting strength, flexural strength, unit weight, and ultrasonic pulse velocity are significantly reduced and the water absorption is increased with percentage wise replacement of peat as aggregate in the samples. The maximum 20% of (% mass) peat content meets the requirements of relevant well-known international standards. The experimental values illustrate that, the 44% volumetric replacement with peat did not exhibit any sudden brittle fracture even beyond the ultimate loads and a comparatively smooth surface is found. The application of peat as efficient brick substance shows a potential to be used for wall and a viable solution in the economic buildings design.
Runoff potentiality of a watershed was assessed based on identifying curve number (CN), soil conservation service (SCS), and functional data analysis (FDA) techniques. Daily discrete rainfall data were collected from weather stations in the study area and analyzed through lowess method for smoothing curve. As runoff data represents a periodic pattern in each watershed, Fourier series was introduced to fit the smooth curve of eight watersheds. Seven terms of Fourier series were introduced for the watersheds 5 and 8, while 8 terms of Fourier series were used for the rest of the watersheds for the best fit of data. Bootstrapping smooth curve analysis reveals that watersheds 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8 are with monthly mean runoffs of 29, 24, 22, 23, 26, and 27 mm, respectively, and these watersheds would likely contribute to surface runoff in the study area. The purpose of this study was to transform runoff data into a smooth curve for representing the surface runoff pattern and mean runoff of each watershed through statistical method. This study provides information of runoff potentiality of each watershed and also provides input data for hydrological modeling.
In recent years many models have been proposed for measuring soil water content (θ) based on the permittivity (ε) value. Permittivity is one of the properties used to determine θ in measurements using the electromagnetic method. This method is widely used due to quite substantial differences in values of ε for air, soil, and water, as it allows the θ value to be measured accurately. The performance of six proposed models with one parameter (i.e., permittivity) and five proposed models with two or more parameters (i.e., permittivity, porosity, and dry bulk density of soil) is discussed and evaluated. Secondary data obtained from previous studies are used for comparison to calibrate and evaluate the models. The results show that the models with one parameter proposed by Roth et al. (1992) and Topp et al. (1980) have the greatest R² data errors, while for the model with two parameters, the model proposed by Malicki et al. (1996) agrees very well with the data compared with other models.
Peat moss (PM) is the most widely used growing substrate for the pot culture. Due to diminishing availability and increasing price of PM, researchers are looking for viable alternatives for peat as a growth media component for potted plants. A pot study was conducted with a view to investigate the possibility of using spent mushroom waste (SMW) for Kai-lan (Brassica oleracea var. Alboglabra) production replacing peat moss (PM) in growth media. The treatments evaluated were 100% PM (control), 100% SMW, and mixtures of SMW and PM in different ratios like 1 : 1, 1 : 2, and 2 : 1 (v/v) with/without NPK amendment. The experiment was arranged in a completely randomized design with five replications per treatment. Chemical properties like pH and salinity level (EC) of SMW were within the acceptable range of crop production but, nutrient content, especially nitrogen content was not enough to provide sufficient nutrition to plant for normal growth. Only PM (100%) and SMW and PM mixture in 1 : 1 ratio with NPK amendment performed equally in terms of Kai-lan growth. This study confirms the feasibility of replacing PM by SMW up to a maximum of 50% in the growth media and suggests that NPK supplementation from inorganic sources is to ensure a higher productivity of Kai-lan.
A total of 20 landfills are located in State of Selangor, Malaysia. This includes the Ampar Tenang landfill site, which was closed on 26 January 2010. It was reported that the landfill has been upgraded to a level I type of sanitary classification. However, the dumpsite area is not being covered according to the classification. In addition, municipal solid waste was dumped directly on top of the unlined natural alluvium formation. This does not only contaminate surface and subsurface soils, but also initiates the potential risk of groundwater pollution. Based on previous studies, the Ampar Tenang soil has been proven to no longer be capable of preventing pollution migration. In this study, metal concentrations of soil samples up to 30 m depth were analyzed based on statistical analysis. It is very significant because research of this type has not been carried out before. The subsurface soils were significantly polluted by arsenic (As), lead (Pb), iron (Fe), copper (Cu) and aluminium (Al). As and Pb exceeded the safe limit values of 5.90 mg/kg and 31.00 mg/kg, respectively, based on Provincial Sediment Quality Guidelines for Metals and the Interim Sediment Quality Values. Furthermore, only Cu concentrations showed a significantly decreasing trend with increasing depth. Most metals were found on clay-type soils based on the cluster analysis method. Moreover, the analysis also differentiates two clusters: cluster I-Pb, As, zinc, Cu, manganese, calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium and Fe; cluster II-Al. Different clustering may suggest a different contamination source of metals.
The insecticide chlorpyrifos is extensively used in the humid tropics for insect control on crops and soils. Chlorpyrifos degradation and mineralization was studied under laboratory conditions to characterize the critical factors controlling the degradation and mineralization in three humid tropical soils from Malaysia. The degradation was fastest in moist soils (t1/2 53.3-77.0 days), compared to dry (t1/2 49.5-120 days) and wet soils (t1/2 63.0-124 days). Degradation increased markedly with temperature with activation energies of 29.0-76.5 kJ mol(-1). Abiotic degradation which is important for chlorpyrifos degradation in sub-soils containing less soil microbial populations resulted in t½ of 173-257 days. Higher chlorpyrifos dosages (5-fold) which are often applied in the tropics due to severe insects infestations caused degradation and mineralization rates to decrease by 2-fold. The mineralization rates were more sensitive to the chlorpyrifos application rates reflecting that degradation of metabolites is rate limiting and the toxic effects of some of the metabolites produced. Despite that chlorpyrifos is frequently used and often in larger amounts on tropical soils compared with temperate soils, higher temperature, moderate moisture and high activity of soil microorganisms will stimulate degradation and mineralization.
A study was carried out to assess carbon emission and carbon loss caused from land use change (LUC) of converting a wasteland into a Jatropha curcas plantation. The study was conducted for 12 months at a newly established Jatropha curcas plantation in Port Dickson, Malaysia. Assessments of soil carbon dioxide (CO(2)) flux, changes of soil total carbon and plant biomass loss and growth were made on the wasteland and on the established plantation to determine the effects of land preparation (i.e., tilling) and removal of the wasteland's native vegetation. Overall soil CO(2) flux showed no significant difference (P < 0.05) between the two plots while no significant changes (P < 0.05) on soil total carbon at both plots were detected. It took 1.5 years for the growth of Jatropha curcas to recover the biomass carbon stock lost during land conversion. As far as the present study is concerned, converting wasteland to Jatropha curcas showed no adverse effects on the loss of carbon from soil and biomass and did not exacerbate soil respiration.
The sorption and desorption of cyfluthrin mixture isomers were determined using batch equilibration method and mobility was studied under laboratory conditions, using packed soil column. The soil types used in the study were clayey, clay loam and sandy clay loam obtained from three tomato farms in Cameron Highlands. A low Freundlich adsorption distribution coefficient K(ads(f)) for cyfluthrin was observed for clayey, clay loam and sandy clay loam soils (95.69, 21.64 and 8.99 l/kg, respectively). Results showed that cyfluthrin had high Freundlich organic matter (OM) distribution coefficient K(oc) values of 5799, 2278 and 1635 lkg(-1) for clayey, clay loam and sandy clay loam soils, respectively. These values indicate that cyfluthrin is considered immobile in Malaysian soils with different textures, based on the value of K(oc) by McCall. Adsorption of cyfluthrin was significantly (P < 0.05) affected with soil pH, fertilizer NPK, organic matter content and temperature. It was observed that approximately 95.8%, 93.8% and 91.8% of the adsorbed cyfluthrin remained sorbed after four successive rinses for clayey, clay loam and sandy clay loam soils. Soil column test showed that cyfluthrin was not detected in leachate. Cyfluthrin was detected in topsoil and its concentration decreased with depth. The downward movement of cyfluthrin in sandy clay loam soil was more than that in clay loam and clayey soils. Approximately, 80.9%, 77.8% and 67.3% cyfluthrin was observed at the depth of 0-5 cm (rainfall 350 mm) for clayey, clay loam and sandy clay loam soils respectively. Mobility of cyfluthrin showed that the percentage of cyfluthrin leached into soil was not affected by the amount of rainfall. The result clearly showed that cyfluthrin molecules were bound strongly to all the three Malaysian soil types.
Degradation or decline of soil quality that cause shallow slope failure may occur due to physical or chemical processes. It can be triggered off by natural phenomena, or induced by human activity through misuse of land resources, excessive development and urbanization leading to deforestation and erosion of covered soil masses causing serious threat to slopes. The extent of damage of the slopes can be minimized if a long-term early warning system is predicted in the landslide prone areas. The aim of the study was to characterize chemical properties of stable and unstable slope along selected highways of Malaysia which can be manipulated as indicator to forecast shallow slope failure. The elements in soil chemical properties contributed to each other as binding agents that affected the existing soil structure. It could make the soil structure strong or weak. Indicators that can be used to predict shallow slope failure were low content in iron, lead, aluminum, chromium, zinc, low content of organic carbon and CEC.
The lead (Pb2+) bioaccumulation capacities and mechanisms of three different physiological structures (vegetative cells, decay cells and spores) of B. coagulans R11 isolated from a lead mine were examined in this study. The results showed that the total Pb2+ removal capacity of vegetative cells (17.53 mg/g) was at its optimal and higher than those of the spores and decay cells at the initial lead concentration of 50 mg/L. However, when the initial lead concentration surpassed 50 mg/L, Pb2+ removal capacity of decay cells was more efficient. Zeta potential, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and functional group modification analyses demonstrated that the electrostatic attraction and chelating activity of the functional groups were the primary pathways involved in the extracellular accumulation of Pb2+ by the vegetative cells and spores. However, the primary Pb2+ binding pathway in the decay cells was hypothesized to be due to physical adsorption, which easily led to Pb2+ desorption. Based on these results, we conclude that the vegetative cell is the ideal lead sorbent. Therefore, it is important to inhibit the transformation of the vegetative cells into decay cells and spores, which can be achieved by culturing the bacteria under anaerobic conditions to prevent spore formation. Heat stimulation can effectively enhance spore germination to generate vegetative cells.
Microwave pyrolysis of oil palm fiber (OPF) with three types of Na-based catalysts was experimentally investigated to produce biochar. Sodium hydroxide (NaOH), sodium chloride (NaCl), and sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) with purity 99.9% were selected for this investigation. Microwave muffle reactor (Model: HAMiab-C1500) with a microwave power controller including a microwave generator was used to perform the microwave pyrolysis. OPF particles were used after removing foreign materials, impurities, and dust. Microwave power ranges from 400 to 900 W, temperature ranges from 450 to 700 °C, and N2 flow rates ranges from 200 to -1200 cm3/min were used along with all three Na-based catalysts for this investigation. Lower microwave power, temperature, and N2 flow rate have been found favorable for higher yield of biochar. NaOH is to be found as the more suitable catalyst than NaCl and Na2CO3 to produce biochar. A maximum biochar yield (51.42 wt%) has been found by using the catalysts NaOH at N2 flow rate of 200 cm3/min. One sample of the biochar (maximum yield without catalysts) was selected for further characterization via thermo gravimetric analysis (TGA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), BET surface area, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and ultimate and proximate analysis. SEM and BET surface area analysis showed the presence of some pores in the biochar. High percentage of carbon (60.24 wt%) was also recorded in the sample biochar. The pores and high percentage of carbon of biochar have significant impact on soil fertilization by increasing the carbon sequestration in the soil. It assists to slow down the decomposition rate of nutrients from soil and therefore enhances the soil quality.
Legumes provide an essential service to ecosystems by capturing nitrogen from the atmosphere and delivering it to the soil, where it may then be available to other plants. However, this facilitation by legumes has not been widely studied in global tropical forests. Demographic data from 11 large forest plots (16-60 ha) ranging from 5.25° S to 29.25° N latitude show that within forests, leguminous trees have a larger effect on neighbor diversity than non-legumes. Where soil nitrogen is high, most legume species have higher neighbor diversity than non-legumes. Where soil nitrogen is low, most legumes have lower neighbor diversity than non-legumes. No facilitation effect on neighbor basal area was observed in either high or low soil N conditions. The legume-soil nitrogen positive feedback that promotes tree diversity has both theoretical implications for understanding species coexistence in diverse forests, and practical implications for the utilization of legumes in forest restoration.
Sediment is a great indicator for assessing coastal mercury contamination. This work profiled the magnitude of mercury pollution in the tropical estuaries and coastal sediments of the Strait of Malacca. Mercury was extracted through the ultrasound-assisted mercury extraction method and analyzed using the flow injection mercury system. The mean concentration of mercury in the sediment samples was 61.43 ± 23.25 μg/kg, ranging from 16.55 ± 0.61 to 114.02 ± 1.54 μg/kg. Geoaccumulation index revealed that a total of 13% of sampling sites were moderately enriched with mercury. The northern part of the Strait of Malacca had the highest mean mercury (Hg) concentration (76.36 ± 27.25 μg/kg), followed by the southern (64.59 ± 16.09 μg/kg) and central (39.33 ± 12.91 μg/kg) parts. Sediment mercury concentration in the current study was lower than other regions like Japan, China, Indian, east Mediterranean, and Taiwan. When compared to the Canadian interim marine and freshwater sediment, China's soil interim environmental guidelines, mercury contamination in the Strait of Malacca was found to be below these permissible limits. Sediment organic matter content was found to have significant correlation with sediment mercury concentration. This study could provide the latest benchmark of mercury pollution and prove beneficial to future pollution studies in relation to monitoring works in tropical estuaries and coastal sediments.
Salinity is one of the rising problems causing tremendous yield losses in many regions of the world especially in arid and semiarid regions. To maximize crop productivity, these areas should be brought under utilization where there are options for removing salinity or using the salt-tolerant crops. Use of salt-tolerant crops does not remove the salt and hence halophytes that have capacity to accumulate and exclude the salt can be an effective way. Methods for salt removal include agronomic practices or phytoremediation. The first is cost- and labor-intensive and needs some developmental strategies for implication; on the contrary, the phytoremediation by halophyte is more suitable as it can be executed very easily without those problems. Several halophyte species including grasses, shrubs, and trees can remove the salt from different kinds of salt-affected problematic soils through salt excluding, excreting, or accumulating by their morphological, anatomical, physiological adaptation in their organelle level and cellular level. Exploiting halophytes for reducing salinity can be good sources for meeting the basic needs of people in salt-affected areas as well. This review focuses on the special adaptive features of halophytic plants under saline condition and the possible ways to utilize these plants to remediate salinity.