Soil science

A.Y. 2017/2018
Overall hours
AGR/13 AGR/14
Learning objectives
The aim of the course is the knowledge of the characteristics of the soil and its principal functions. The soils will be studied for their agronomic characteristics and for how much it concerns their vulnerability in relationship to different uses.Soil genesis, processes and dynamics of soil formation in relation with the landscape; interpretation of main soil characters connected with soil environmental functions and main international classification rules; world soil distribution, genesis of soil maps, and evaluation of soil capability.
Expected learning outcomes
Chemical, physical and biological characteristics of soil. Laboratory activity for the determination of the principal soil characteristics.Interpretation of soil chemical, phisical, descriptive and cartographic data in relation to vegetation, lithology and geomorphic dynamics in the rural or natural environment they are generated from.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Soil chemistry
Course syllabus
Definition of the soil: the soil as open system. The soil main functions: production function, protective, natural function. Soil as a three-phase system: solid, liquid and gaseous. Theoretical structure of a soil profile. Minerals and rocks: mineral silicates, classification and structure of silicate minerals. Processes of minerals alteration: disintegration and decay, action of water, wind, glaciers and biotic entities. Products of alteration: clays. Structure of the clay: 1:1 clays, 2:1 clays, heterovalent isomorphous substitutions. The physical properties of the soil: real and apparent texture, structure, density and porosity. The organic matter: humic and non humic component, processes of accumulation and consumption in relation to soil fertility. Action of the substance on the chemical, physical and biological properties of the soil. Chemical properties of the soil: adsorption and exchange: main theories, the characteristics and composition of the exchange complex of the soil, degree of base saturation, cation adsorption and anion specific and non-specific, complex inner-sphere and outer-sphere. The soil-water relationships. The soil-air relations: soil as a "respiratory system". Red-ox potential of the soil. Chemical properties of soil: different pH values (in water and potential). Acid, basic, sodium, submerged soils. Soils with extreme pH: possible correction. Soil fertility. Nitrogen cycle. The phosphorus cycle. Sulfur cycle and other meso and micro elements in relation to the availability in the soil. Fertilizers: mineral, organic, amendments and corrective. The use of sludges and manures: principals agronomic and environmental aspects. Soil analyses (laboratory).
Teaching methods
Libri di testo P. Violante ¿Chimica del suolo e nutrizione delle piante¿ ¿ Edagricole L. Radaelli e L. Calamai ¿Chimica del terreno¿ ¿ Ed. Piccin P. Sequi ¿Fondamenti di chimica del suolo¿ ¿ Ed. Patron
Course syllabus
- Soils genesis and classification: Definition of soil; environmental functions and relationships; soil forming factors: climate, geomorphology and topography, geolithology, biology (vegetation, fauna and man), time; Soil description and recognition of g
Teaching methods
¿ D. Baize, B. Jabiol, 1995, Guide pour la description des sols, INRA, Paris, pp. 375.
¿ W. Chesworth (ed.), 2008, Encyclopedia of Soil Science, Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 902.
¿ A. Giordano, 1999, Pedologia, UTET, Torino, pp. 364.
¿ J.-M. Gobat, M. Aragno, W. Matthey, 2003, Le sol vivant, Presses Polytecniques et Universitaires Romandes, Lausanne, CH, pp. 568.
¿ F. Previtali, 1999, Elementi di Geopedologia. Tassonomie dei suoli, CUEM, Milano, pp. 194.
¿ F. Previtali, 2001, Elementi di Geopedologia. Genesi e geografia dei suoli, CUEM, Milano, pp. 266.
¿ G. Sanesi, 2000, Elementi di pedologia, Calderini Edagricole, Bologna, pp. 390.
¿ M.E. Sumner (ed.), 2000, Handbook of Soil Science, CRC Press, Boca Raton, USA.
AGR/14 - PEDOLOGY - University credits: 4
Practicals: 16 hours
Lessons: 24 hours
Professor: Casati Enrico Vittorio
Soil chemistry
AGR/13 - AGRICULTURAL CHEMISTRY - University credits: 6
Laboratories: 24 hours
Lessons: 36 hours
Professors: Corno Luca, Tambone Fulvia
appointment by e-mail
DiSAA - soil chemistry section - I Floor