Electrokinetic control of nitrate movement in soil

Xinhua Jia, Dennis Larson, Donald Slack, James Walworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Nitrate contamination of surface and groundwater has become a serious concern in many agricultural areas throughout the world. Nitrate fertilization is widely used to increase crop yields and quality, but nitrates are highly soluble in water with low retention by soils. Appropriate nitrate application practices can minimize losses, but untimely rainfall can foil management intent. A small dc electrical input has previously been reported to influence nitrate movement in wet soil. Two sets of lysimeter experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of parallel electrodes on pH and nitrate distribution in field soils subjected to an electrical input. In one experiment, drip irrigation with injected nitrate application was used to grow Sudan grass; in the other, nitrate distribution in wet soil was observed after application of varying levels of electrical current. Increased nitrate concentration, reduced sodium and calcium concentration and lower pH values near the anode, the expected results, were not attained consistently in the test soils with an electrical input of 100-700 mA. The evaluation is being continued with simpler, more controlled conditions in soil column laboratory experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-283
Number of pages11
JournalEngineering Geology
Issue number3-4 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Electrokinetic control
  • Nitrate movement
  • Soil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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