Environmental Soil Chemistry

TPSS 435


Hue Nguyen

Semesters taught:

Fall 2016


Study of soil chemical processes such as weathering, adsorption, precipitation, complex formation, and ion exchange; causes of soil acidity, alkalinity, and salinity; reactions between soil and fertilizers, bio-wastes, pesticides, and heavy metals.

Skills and knowledge to be acquired:

Skills: Know how to determine chemical analysis of soils, fertilizers, and biowastes. Knowledge: Know what to expect from a soil using its chemical and mineralogical properties or when inputs, such as fertilizers or heavy metals, are needed.

Computer skills to be acquired:

Know how to estimate ion concentrations in the soil solution, to predict the thickness of a diffuse double layer.


TPSS 304 or consent


Soil Chemistry, by Bohn, McNeal, and O'Connor. 1985. John Wiley & Sons Publisher.

Additional reading:

  • Principles of soil chemistry. K. H. Tan. 1993. Marcel Dekker, Inc. NY.
  • The Chemistry of Soils. 1989. G. Sposito. Oxford University Press, NY.

Films and videos:

Videotapes on compost making and beneficial uses of compost.

Guest Speakers:


Field Trips:


Course organization:

  • Introduction to Soil Chemistry
  • Chemical Principles as applied to soils.
  • Soil Weathering
  • The Solid Phase
  • Soil Organic Matter
  • Cation Exchange
  • Anion Exchange and sorption
  • Soil Acidity and Liming
  • Salt-affected soils
  • Redox Reactions


The examination on the lecture portion are 50%, homework assignments 25%, and laboratory assignments 25%. There are three 1-hour exams and a final exam. The first 1-hour exam will cover Text Book Chapters 1, 2, 3, and the first half of chapter 4 and valued at 10% of the grade. The second 1-hour exam will cover the second half of Chapter 4 and Chapters 5, 6, and worth 10% of the grade. The third 1-hour exam will cover chapters 7, 8, and 9 and valued at 10%. The final two hour examination will be comprehensive (covers all 10 chapters) and will be held on the date listed in the Univ.'s Registration Booklet. (20% grade).

The grading scale: A = 90% or above: B = 80% - 89%: C = 70% - 79%: D = 60% - 69%, and F = < 60%.