AbstractThe exchange capacity of the organic matter in typical soils of Puerto Rico was evaluated from: (1) The variation in the exchange capacity of soil samples following destruction of the organic matter, (2) titration curves of extracted organic matter, (3) and the correlations between exchange capacity and organic-matter content of soil samples. The first method was the most practical and gave fairly accurate results. The second method gave results which were in all cases too high. The third method, though probably the most accurate, is impractical. Results obtained with the first and third methods were similar. The exchange capacity of the organic matter varied rather widely, but was generally between 100 and 150 m.e. per 100 gm. On the average it accounted for about 25 percent of the total exchange capacity of the soils studied. The organic matter removed by flotation had the highest exchange capacity and the more readily oxidizable portions generally appeared to be the most active. This suggests the importance of conserving the more readily lost portions of the soil organic matter. A considerable portion of the soil organic matter was extremely resistant to oxidation, had a narrow C:N ratio, and apparently little exchange capacity. This suggests a close association between the organic matter and the inorganic soil colloids. The marked resistance to oxidation of a considerable portion of the organic matter may partly explain the high contents found even in continuously cultivated soils in Puerto Rico.
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