Application of flow field-flow fractionation and laser sizing to characterize soil colloids in drained and undrained lysimeters

L. J. Gimbert, P. M. Haygarth, P. Worsfold

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8 Citations (SciVal)


This paper reports the use of a new technique, flow field-flow fractionation (FIFFF), for the characterization of soil sampled under grassland. FIFFF can be used to determine the fine colloidal material in the <1 mu m fraction obtained by gravitational settling of 1 % m/v soil suspensions. The aim of this work was to determine the potential of FIFFF to characterize soil colloids in drained and undrained field lysimeters from soil cores sampled at different depths. Two different grassland lysimeter plots of I ha, one drained and one undrained, were investigated, and the soil was sampled at 20-m intervals along a single diagonal transect at three different depths (0-2, 10-12, and 30-32 cm). The results showed that there was a statistically significant (P = 0.05) increase in colloidal material at 30- to 32-cm, depth aJong the transect under the drained lysimeter, which correlates with disturbance of the soil at this depth due to the installation of tile drains at 85-cm depth backfilled to 30-cm depth with gravel. Laser sizing was also used to determine the particles in the size range I to 2000 pm and complement the data obtained using FIFFF because laser sizing tacks resolution for the finer colloidal material (0.1-1.0 m). The laser sizing data showed increased heterogeneity at 30- to 32-cm depth, particularly in the 50 to 250 pm size fraction. Therefore FIFFF characterized the finer material and laser sizing the coarser soil fraction (<2000 pm) at depth in drained and undrained grassland. This is of importance as colloidal material is more mobile than the larger material and consequently an important vector for contaminant transport from agricultural land to catchments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1656-1660
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


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