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Effect of Air Content on the Oxygen Diffusion Coefficient of Growing Media

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DOI: 10.4236/ajps.2013.45118    4,239 Downloads   6,421 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

An important parameter for describing oxygen availability in growing media is the air capacity, but this parameter does not include any information about the gas exchange with the surrounding atmosphere. The oxygen diffusion coefficient fulfills this requirement and may be better suited as a characteristic parameter to describe the oxygen regime. The measurement of the gas diffusion coefficient is a common method to describe the oxygenation in mineral soils, but this method has not been studied well on growing media yet. In this investigation four different growing media were used to measure the oxygen diffusion coefficient at two different bulk densities and four different water tensions in the laboratory. The effect of density and water tension on the oxygen diffusion coefficient in different growing media and the dependence on air content were investigated. The results show that both water tension and density have a major influence on oxygen diffusion. With increasing density and moisture content, a decrease of the oxygen diffusion coefficient can be observed. Between the substrates there are no significant differences regarding the oxygen diffusion coefficient at the same air content. Based on the oxygen diffusion coefficients of the substrates, the models describing the dependence of gas diffusion coefficients to air content in the literature were tested for the transferability to growing media. The Moldrup model [1] shows the best fit. The fit can be slightly further improved by modifying the tortuosity parameter.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

D. Schmitz, R. Anlauf and P. Rehrmann, "Effect of Air Content on the Oxygen Diffusion Coefficient of Growing Media," American Journal of Plant Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 5, 2013, pp. 955-963. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2013.45118.

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