Chemical and colloidal properties

The chemistry of soil determines the availability of nutrients, the health of microbial populations, and its physical properties. In addition, soil chemistry also determines its corrosivity, stability, and ability to absorb pollutants and to filter water. It is the surface chemistry of clays and humus colloids that determines soil’s chemical properties. The very high specific surface area of colloids and their net negative charges, gives soil its great ability to hold and release cations in what is referred to as cation exchangeCation-exchange capacity (CEC) is the amount of exchangeable cations per unit weight of dry soil and is expressed in terms of milliequivalents of hydrogen ion per 100 grams of soil. “A colloid is a small, insoluble, nondiffusible particle larger than a molecule but small enough to remain suspended in a fluid medium without settling. Most soils contain organic colloidal particles as well as the inorganic colloidal particles of clays.

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