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Summary

Little is known about solubility and soil solution concentrations of most elements occurring in the solid phase of soils. This study reports changes in solution concentrations of 60 mineral elements following CaCO3 addition to a moderately acid semi-natural soil, and possible mechanisms accounting for the differing solubility patterns as related to soil acidity are discussed. Soil solutions were obtained by high-speed centrifuging and ultrafiltration (0.2 μm) of samples at 60% water-holding capacity of the A horizon of a Cambisol developed from a shale–gneiss moraine and supplied with CaCO3 at 20 rates to yield a soil solution pH range of 5.2–7.8. Concentrations of elements were determined in the solutions by ICP-AES or (for most elements) ICP-MS. Several distinct patterns of soil solution concentrations as a function of soil solution pH were demonstrated. Positively related to pH and CaCO3 supply were soil solution concentrations of As, Br, Mo, S, Sb, Se, U, and W, and to a lesser degree, Co, Cr, Hg, Mg, and Sr. Inversely related to pH were concentrations of Al, B, Ba, Bi, Cs, Ce, Eu, Ga, Ge, Fe, Li, K, Rb, Na, Th, and Ti; less distinctly inversely rated were Dy, Er, Gd, Hf, La, Lu, Mn, Nd, Pr, Sm, Sc, Si, Tl, Tm, and Yb. ‘U-shaped’ relationships to pH were demonstrated for the concentrations of Ag, Cd, Nb, Ni, P, V, and Zr. There were no or irregular relations between pH and concentrations of Be, Cu, Ho, Pb, Ta, and Tb. Differences between elements in their soil solution concentrations as related to total (HNO3-digestible) concentrations and the solubility of organic C were also treated. Increasing the pH of a soil by adding CaCO3 changes the solubility of most mineral elements substantially, the several distinct patterns observed being governed by, for example, ionic properties and charge, affinity for organic compounds, and pH-dependent formation and solubility of complexes.