Status of some trace elements in relation to the nature of the main sediments in the Fayoum (Egypt) depression
Chapter 1 of this thesis is a general review of published work o_ the origins and distribution of Cd, Cu, Fe, Mn and Zn in soils and their uptake and functions in plants. Chapter 2 is a synopsis of the geological history of the Fayoum of relevance to the origins of sediments at the study sties. Previous fractionation procedures, and a proposed modification to improve the determination of carbonate-bound elements are discussed in Chapter 3, while other analytical procedures are described in Chapter 4. Results of general soil analyses, of the fractionation analyses and useful correlation matrices, are tabulated together (for convenience in Chapter 5) and are discussed in detail in the following chapter. Texture was a crucial factor, finer-textured soils generally having lower pH and higher organic matter contents, although the latter were generally greater closer to the surface. Clay and silt contents were highly correlated, probably reflecting water sorting in the Fayoum, which aided the texture/drainage effect. Drainage (i.e. texture) was apparently very important in the fractionation chemistry of elements influenced by redox-reactions, i.e. Fe and Mn, and elements for which distribution depended upon Fe and Mn oxides (e.g., Zn) to a significant extent. Clay was especially important to the concentration of crystalline and amorphous iron oxides. Cd and Cu showed marked surface accumulation, especially in the exchangeable fractions, for many profiles, probably through pollution. The Cu content of organic matter was strikingly uniform at the Fayoum. Amorphous and crystalline Fe oxides seem to be especially important in the distribution of Zn. Clay Cd, Fe and Zn and, to a lesser extent, Cu and Mn contents were relatively constant, suggesting uniform origins. Chapter 7 describes a pot experiment on the soils using barley as a test crop, aimed at relating uptake to the fractionation results. Interpretation was complicated by a dominant effect of soil salinity. Chapter 8 suggests future related research.