Chemical weathering of soil minerals and the role of biological processes

Harald Sverdrup*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Existing weathering models based on direct, abiotic factors, and biological factors through systemic feedbacks seem to describe the weathering rates observed in the field with good accuracy. The Swedish weathering rate model, PROFILE is the only existing model with this capacity. The PROFILE model is widely used and has been used successfully in sustainability assessments for forests and agriculture. The author has reviewed available experiments, as well as existing knowledge on chemical weathering kinetics and concludes that the physical and chemical conditions existing in forest soils do not allow any significant direct surface actions on minerals by microorganisms or tree roots. The reported tracks and holes in minerals have been mistakenly identified as being produced by roots, but this misunderstanding is caused by a lack of understanding of crystallography and chemical dissolution mechanisms. The holes and tracks have been produced by known chemical mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-100
Number of pages7
JournalFungal Biology Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009

Other keywords

  • Abiotic weathering
  • Biotic weathering
  • Integrated weathering model
  • Kinetics
  • PROFILE model
  • Weathering


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