Pedosphere 18(5): 643--652, 2008
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2008 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Relationship of soil qualities to maize growth under increasing phosphorus supply in acid soils of southern Cameroon
1 Institut de la Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement, P.O. Box 2067, Yaoundé (Cameroon). E-mail:
2. International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Humid Forest Ecoregional Center, P.O. Box 2067, Yaoundé (Cameroon)
3. Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility, P.O.Box 30667, Nairobi (Kenya)
      A large array of soil properties influences plant growth response to phosphorus (P) fertilizer input in acid soils. We carried out a pot experiment using three contrasted acid soils from southern Cameroon with the following main objectives:i) to assess the main soil causal factors of different maize (Zea mays L.) growth response to applied P and ii) to statistically model soil quality variation across soil types as well as their relationships to dry matter production. The soils used are classified as Typic Kandiudox (TKO), Rhodic Kandiudult (RKU), and Typic Kandiudult (TKU). Analysis of variance, regression, and principal component analyses were used for data analysis and interpretation. Shoot dry matter yield (DMY) was significantly affected by soil type and P rate with no significant interaction. Predicted maximum attainable DMY was lowest in the TKO (26.2 g pot-1) as compared to 35.6 and 36.7 g pot-1 for the RKU and TKU, respectively. Properties that positively influenced DMY were the levels of inorganic NaHCO3-extractable P, individual basic cations (Ca, Mg, and K), and pH. Their effects contrasted with those of exchangeable Al and C/N ratio, which significantly depressed DMY. Principal component analysis yielded similar results, identifying 4 orthogonal components, which accounted for 84.7% of the total system variance (TSV). Principal component 1 was identified as soil nutrient deficiency explaining 35.9% of TSV. This soil quality varied significantly among the studied soils, emerging as the only soil quality which significantly (P < 0.05) correlated with maize growth. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th components were identified as soil organic matter contents, texture, and HCl-extractable P, respectively.
Key Words:  acid soil, maize growth, P supply, principal component analysis, soil quality
Citation: TCHIENKOUA, Jemo, M., Njomgang, R., Nolte, C., Sanginga, N. and Takow, J. 2008. Relationship of soil qualities to maize growth under increasing phosphorus supply in acid soils of southern Cameroon. Pedosphere. 18(5): 643-652.
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