Soil Chemistry




Year of study


Course teacher

Asst Prof Maša Buljac
Prof Marija Bralić

Credits (ECTS)


Associate teachers

Asst Prof Maša Buljac

Type of instruction (number of hours)






Status of the course


Percentage of application of e-learning

0 %


Course objectives

To introduce students to the properties of mineral and organic matter of the soil and their role in chemical processes in the soil. Determine the concentration and composition of the soil solution, the importance and role of soil reaction, acidity, alkalinity and salinity for certain soil properties and processes in the soil. Analyze soil contamination by organic and inorganic compounds.

Course enrolment requirements and entry competences required for the course


Learning outcomes expected at the level of the course (4 to 10 learning outcomes)

After course students will be able to :
- Identify chemical composition pedosphere, the origin of the chemical constituents in the soil
- To compare the natural and anthropogenic processes caused by the transformation of mineral and organic matter in soil
- Establish similarities and differences in the chemical processes in different soils
- The sources of soil contamination as a result of human activity
- Make a plan of chemical analyzes for different needs
- To elaborate obtained knowledge of soil

Course content broken down in detail by weekly class schedule (syllabus)

Lecture 1: Introduction. Definition of basic concepts in chemistry of soil
Lecture 2: The fundamental substrates and processes of pedogenesis
Lecture 3: Mineral soil structure (oxides and hydroxides of Al, Si, Fe, Mn, no silicate minerals, secondary clay minerals, ion dispersion)
Seminar 1 (2 hours): Redox reactions of cations and anions at the solid-liquid
Lab course 1 (4 hours): Soil analysis (determining the acidity of the soil, the determination of total carbonate in the soil).
Lecture 4: The organic structure of the soil (fresh remains on the ground and in the soil, transformation of soil organic matter, mineralization, humus- origin, composition and properties, divisions humus importance of humus for soil fertility).
Lecture 5: The liquid phase of the soil. The properties of the soil solution.
Seminar 2 (2 hours):. soil acidity, soil pH
Lab course 2 (4 hours): Determination of buffering capacity of the soil.
Lecture 6: The processes of precipitation and dissolution
Lecture 7: I. Partial Test
Seminar 3 (2 hours): Methods of measuring soil acidity
Lab course 3 (4 hours): Determination of ammonium nitrogen in the soil with Nessler reagent.
Lecture 8: Reactions of cations and anions at the interface soil-solution
Lecture 9: The acidity of the soil, methods of measuring soil acidity, soil acidity and origin correction of soil acidity.
Seminar 4 (2 hours): The redox potential of the soil and the practical application
Lab course 4 (4 hours): Determination of physiologically active lime (CaO%) by the method of Galeta.
Lecture 10: Alkalinity, salinity, soil buffers. Soil contamination from organic and inorganic compounds
Lecture 11:: The basic principles of electrochemistry.
Seminar 5 (2 hours): The chemical composition of the organic portion of soil.
Lab course 5 (4 hours ): Determination of total nitrogen in plant material and soil by the method of Kjeldahl.
Lecture 12: The redox potential of the soil and practical application.
Lecture 13: The properties of colloids in the environment.
Seminar 6 (2 hours): The liquid phase of the soil
Lab course 6 (5 hours ): Determination of exchangeable aluminum in the soil by the method of Sokolov presented.
Lecture 14: The problems of soil contamination.
Lecture 15: II. partial test
Seminar 7 (2 hours ): oxido-reducing conditions in the soil
Lab course 7 (5 hours ): Determination of humus at Kotzman

Format of instruction:

Student responsibilities


Screening student work (name the proportion of ECTS credits for eachactivity so that the total number of ECTS credits is equal to the ECTS value of the course):

Class attendance




Practical training


Experimental work







Seminar essay






Oral exam




Written exam






Grading and evaluating student work in class and at the final exam

During semester two exams will be performed. Final examinations will be administered during formal examination periods. The following percentage equivalents apply to final grade: <55% Failure; 56%-66% (2); 67%-78% (3); 79%-90% (4);> 90% (5). After written exam, student will attend to oral exam. Lecturers do not give grades. Students earn grades.

Required literature (available in the library and via other media)


Number of copies in the library

Availability via other media

D.L. Sparks, Environmental Soil Chemistry, 2 nd edition Academic Press, London, 2003.


Jedan primjerak u zavodu

E. Prohić, Geokemija, Targa, Zagreb, 1998.


M. Cresser, K. Killham, T. Edwards, Soil Chemistry and its applications, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1993.;


Jedan primjerak u zavodu

A. Škorić, Postanak, razvoj i sistematika tala, Sveučilište u Zagrebu, 1986


Jedan primjerak u zavodu

A. Škorić, Sastav i svojstva tla, Fakultet poljoprivrednih znanosti, Zagreb, 1991.


Jedan primjerak u zavodu

Optional literature (at the time of submission of study programme proposal)

T. G. Spiro, W. M. Stigliani, Chemistry of environment, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1996;
A. Škorić, Priručnik za pedološka istraživanja, Fakultet poljoprivrednih znanosti, Zagreb, 1982.;
C.S. Kupchella, M.C. Hyland, Environmental science, 2nd edition, Allyn and Bacon, Massachusetts, 1989.

Quality assurance methods that ensure the acquisition of exit competences

Monitoring the quality and efficiency of teaching and acquisition of knowledge (skills), monitored at the level of: (1) teachers, by accepting the suggestions of students and colleagues, (2) faculty, conducting the survey participants about the quality of teaching.

Other (as the proposer wishes to add)