Microorganisms and Soil Aggregate Stability

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Date
1985
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Kenya Soil Survey
Abstract
A soil aggregate has been defined as "a naturally occurring cluster or group of soil particles in which the forces holding the particles together are much stronger than the forces between adjacent aggregates" (Martin et aI., 1955). The terms soil structure and soil aggregation are often used synonymously, but soil aggregates are the basic units of soil structure, rather than the whole. Soil aggregates are formed mainly by physical forces while stabilization is effected by several factors including organic materials, iron and aluminum oxides, and clays. Sequi (1978) considered that the term "aggregation" should be used only when organic binding agents are involved, but this definition seems too narrow to us. The two processes of aggregate formation and stabilization can be concurrent in the soil, and the various stabilizing agents may act in conjunction with each other.
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