Exploring the dynamics of soil water repellency (SWR)

12 August 2019

Soil water repellency is a common phenomenon observed throughout the world. It creates a skin on the soil surface which prevents water from being absorbed into the soil and deprives plants and microbes of critical moisture, slowing growth.

Despite the importance of this phenomenon, the processes involved in the development and breakdown of soil water repellency are poorly understood. However, it is apparent that the microbial community plays an important role.

In this study, scientists measured soil enzyme activities in relation to soil water repellency. Soils were sampled in six locations on the east coast of North Island of New Zealand with a range of soil physico-chemical properties and enzyme activities measured. 

The study identified some key enzymes involved in soil water repellency. Understanding the action of these enzymes and how they relate to repellency will help in the development of soil management practices to remediate soil water repellency and improve soil quality.

Research was completed under Plant and Food Research’s Sustainable Agro-ecosystems (SAE) program, with funding from the Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF).

 

Journal Reference:

Simpson, R, Mason, K, Robertson, K Müller K 2019. Relationship between soil properties and enzyme activities with soil water repellency. Soil Research http://www.publish.csiro.au/SR/SR18199

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