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Erich - Soil & Environmental Chemistry at UMaine


M. Susan Erich
Professor of Plant and Soil Chemistry

418 Deering
Phone: 207-581-2997
FAX: 207-581-2999

B.S. Bethany College 1976
M.S. Cornell University 1979
Ph.D. Cornell University 1984

Tsutomu Ohno
Professor of Soil Chemistry

Phone: 207-581-2975
FAX: 207-581-2999

B.S. Kansas State University  1977
M.S. Cornell University 1981
Ph.D. Cornell University  1983

Current Research

T. Ohno - My current research efforts focus on the use of crop rotations and animal manures to improve soil productivity and increase soil phosphorus availability. My specific projects involve: 1) the spectroscopic and macroscopic characterization of humic and fulvic acids, as well as water-soluble organic matter, isolated from cropping system studies which have been in place for eight to twelve years and 2) interaction of these isolated organic matter ligands on the kinetics of phosphorus desorption from soils. These studies will allow evaluation of how cropping systems may be designed to increase phosphorus use efficiency which would befit growers by lowering required chemical inputs and society with lower potential for adverse environmental impacts from excessive phosphorus use.

M. Susan Erich -My research relates to the effects of soil amendments on soil chemical and physical properties.  Specifically I have investigated the effects of naturally derived organic ligands on the solubility of phosphorus in soils, as well as environmentally and agronomically appropriate soil testing for phosphorus.  I have also studied the production of phenolics with allelopathic potential in soils amended with plant residues and compost.During the decomposition of organic material in soils substantial amounts of water-soluble carbon, which can potentially affect soil chemical and biological processes via interaction with organisms and soil surfaces, may be produced. These soluble carbon compounds may suppress or enhance plant growth, depending on the identities and concentrations of the compounds involved, the identities of the target plants, soil and climatic conditions, and other factors.

Selected Publications

Phosphorus and Soil Organic Matter Chemistry

Lannan A.P., M.S. Erich and T. Ohno. 2013. Compost feedstock and maturity level affect soil response to amendment. Biology and Fertility of Soils 49:273–285.

Erich, M.S., A.F. Plante, J.M. Fernandez, E.B. Mallory, and T. Ohno. 2012.  Effects of Profile Depth and Management on the Composition of Labile and Total Soil Organic Matter.  Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 76:408-419.

Waldrip, H. M., Z. He, and M.S. Erich. 2011. Effects of poultry manure amendment on phosphorus uptake by ryegrass, soil phosphorus fractions and phosphatase  activity. Biol. Fert. Soils 47:407–418.

Waldrip-Dail, H., Z. He, M.S. Erich, and C.W. Honeycutt. 2009. Soil phosphorus            dynamics in response to poultry manure amendment. Soil Sci. 174:195-201.

He, Z., H.W. Waldrip, M.S. Erich, C.W. Honeycutt, and Z.N. Senwo. 2009. Enzymatic       quantification of phytate in animal manure. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal 40:566-575.

He, Z., T. Ohno, F. Wu, D.C. Olk, C.W. Honeycutt, and M. Olanya.  2008.  Capillary electrophoresis and fluorescence excitation-emission matrix spectroscopy for characterization of humic substances.  Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 72:1248-1255.

Hunt, J.F., T. Ohno, and I.J. Fernandez.  2008.  Influence of foliar phosphorus and nitrogen content on chemical properties of water extractable organic matter derived from fresh and decomposed sugar maple leaves.  Soil Bio. Biochem. 40:1931-1939.

Ohno, T., Z. Wang, and R. Bro.  2008.  PowerSlicing to determine fluorescence lifetimes of water-soluble organic matter derived from soils, plant biomass, and animal manures.  Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 390:2189-2194.

Ohno, T., A. Amirbahman, and R. Bro.   2008.  Parallel factor analysis of excitation-emission matrix fluorescence spectra of water-soluble organic matter as basis for the determination of conditional metal binding parameters.  Environ. Sci. Technol. 42:186-192.

Hunt, J.F., T. Ohno, Z. He, and D.B. Dail.  2007.  Inhibition of phosphorus sorption to goethite, gibbsite, and kaolin by fresh and decomposed organic matter.  Biol. Fertility Soils 44:277-288.

Ohno, T., B.R. Hoskins, and M.S. Erich. 2007.  Soil organic matter effects on plant available and water soluble phosphorus.  Biol. Fertility Soils 43:683-690.

Hunt, J.F., and T. Ohno.  2007.  Characterization of Fresh and Decomposed Dissolved Organic Matter Using Excitation-Emission Matrix Fluorescence Spectroscopy and Multi-way Analysis.  J. Agricultural Food Chem. 55:2121-2128.

Ohno, T., I.J. Fernandez, S. Hiradate, and J.F. Sherman.  2007.  Effects of soil acidification and forest type on water-soluble soil organic matter properties.  Geoderma 140:176-187.

Ohno, T., J. Chorover, A. Omoike, and J. Hunt. 2007. Molecular weight and humification index as predictors of adsorption of plant- and manure-derived dissolved organic matter to goethite. Eur. J. Soil Sci. 58:125-132.

Hunt, J.F., T. Ohno, Z. He, C.W. Honeycutt, and D.B. Dail.  2007.  Influence of Decomposition on Chemical Properties of Plant- and Manure-Derived
Dissolved Organic Matter and Sorption to Goethite. J. Environ. Qual. 36:135-143.

Banaitis, M.R., H. Waldrip-Dail, M.S. Diel, B.C. Holmes, J.F. Hunt, R.P. Lynch, and T. Ohno.  2006.  Investigating sorption-driven dissolved organic matter fractionation by multi-dimensional fluorescence spectroscopy and PARAFAC.  J. Colloid Interface Sci. 304:271-276 .

Ohno, T, and R. Bro.  2006.  Dissolved organic matter characterization using multi-way spectral decompositon of fluorescence landscapes.  Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 70:2028-2037.

He, Z., T. Ohno, B.J. Cade-Menun, M.S. Erich, and C.W. Honeycutt.  2006 Spectral and chemical characterization of phosphates associated with humic substances. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 70:1741-1751.

Sherman, J., I.J. Fernandez, S.A. Norton, T. Ohno, and L.E. Rustad. 2006. Soil aluminum, iron, and phosphorus dynamics in response to long-term experimental nitrogen and sulfur additions at the Bear Brook Watershed in Maine, USA. Environ. Monitoring Assesment 121:419-427.

Ohno, T., T.S. Griffin, M. Liebman, and G.A. Porter. 2005.  Green- and animal-manure based cropping systems effects on soil phosphorus and organic matter. Agric. Ecosystem Environ. 105:625-634.

Merrit, Karen A. and M. Susan Erich. 2003. Influence of organic matter decomposition on soluble carbon and its copper-binding capacity. J. Environ. Qual. 32:2122-2131.

Grandy, A.S., G.A. Porter, and M.S. Erich. 2002. Organic amendment and rotation crop effects on the recovery of soil organic matter and aggregation in potato cropping systems. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 66:1311-1319. (PDF)

Ohno, T. 2002. Fluorescence inner filtering correction for determining the humification index of dissolved organic matter. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2002. 36:742-746. (PDF) Response to comment: Eviron. Sci. Technol. 2002. 36:4196 (PDF)

Erich, M.S., C.B. Fitzgerald, and G.A. Porter. 2002. The effect of organic amendments on phosphorus chemistry in a potato cropping system. Agric. Ecosystems. Environ. 88:79-88. (PDF)

Ohno, T. and M.S. Erich. 1997. Inhibitory effects of crop residue-derived organic ligands on phosphate adsorption kinetics. J. Environ. Qual. 26:889-895.

Erich, M.S. and G. Trusty. 1997. Chemical characterization of dissolved organic matter released by limed and unlimed forest soil horizons. Can. J. Soil Sci. 77:405-413.

Ohno, T. and C.S. Cronan. 1997. Comparative effects of ionic- and nonionic-resin purification treatments on the chemistry of dissolved organic matter. Intern. J. Environ. Anal. Chem. 66:119-136.

Ohno, T. and B.S. Crannell. 1996. Green and animal manure-derived dissolved organic matter effects on phosphorus sorption. J. Environ. Qual. 25:1137-1143.

Plant and Soil Interactions

Bernard, E., Larkin, R. P., Tavantzis, S., Erich, M. S., Alyokhin, A., and Gross, S. D. 2014. Rapeseed Rotation, Compost and Biocontrol Amendments Reduce Soilborne Diseases and Increase Tuber Yield in Organic and Conventional Potato Production Systems. Plant and Soil 374:611–627.

Bernard, E., R. P. Larkin, S. Tavantzis, M.S.Erich, A. Alyokhin, G. Sewell, A. Lannan, and S.D. Gross. 2012. Compost, Rapeseed  Rotation, and Biocontrol Agents Significantly Impact Soil Microbial Communities in Organic and Conventional Potato Production Systems.  Appl. Soil Ecol. 52:29– 41.

Piper, A., M.S. Erich, G.A. Porter and T.S. Griffin. 2006. Root growth effects on soluble C and P in manured and non-manured soils. Plant and Soil 283:359-372. (pdf)

Conklin, A.E., M.S. Erich, M. Liebman, D. Lambert, E.R. Gallandt, and W.A. Halteman. Effects of red clover (Trifolium pratense) green manure and compost soil amendments on wild mustard (Brassica kaber) growth and incidence of disease. Plant Soil. 2002. 238:245-256. (PDF).

Dyck, E., M. Liebman, and M.S. Erich. 1996. Crop-weed interference as influenced by a leguminous or synthetic fertilizer nitrogen source: l. Doublecropping experiments with crimson clover, sweet corn, and lambsquarters. Agric. Ecosystems Environ. 56:93-108.

DeWald, L.E., E.I. Sucoff, T. Ohno and C.A. Buschena. 1990. Response of northern red oak (Qercus rubra) seedlings to soil solution aluminum. Can. J. For. Res. 20:331-336.

Ohno, T. 1989. Rhizosphere pH and aluminum chemistry of red oak and honeylocust seedlings. Soil Bio. Biochem. 21:657-600.

Analytical Methods

Erich, M.S., and B.M. Hoskins. 2011. Effects of soil drying on soil pH and nutrient            extractability. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 42:1167-1176.

Hoskins, B. and M.S. Erich. 2008. Modification of the Mehlich lime buffer test.            Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 29:2270-2281.

Dail, H. W., Z. He, M.S. Erich, and C.W. Honeycutt. 2007. Effect of drying on             phosphorus distribution in poultry manure. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal.            38:1879-1895.

Grandy, A.S., M.S. Erich, and G.A. Porter. 2000. Suitability of the anthrone-sulfuric acid reagent for determining water soluble carbohydrates in soil water extracts. Soil Biol. Biochem. 32:725-727. (PDF)

Erich, M.S. and P. First. 1999. Analysis of papermill waste water treatment residuals and process residues. Modern Methods of Plant Analysis Vol. 20. Linskens, H.F. and Jackson, J.F. (ed.) Springer-Verlag, Berlin. pp.21-39.

Bloom, P.R. and M.S. Erich. 1996. The Quantitation of Aqueous Aluminum. pp. 1-38. In: The Environmental Chemistry of Aluminum. 2nd ed. Garrison Sposito, (ed.) Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL.

Ohno, T. and L.M. Zibilske. 1991. Determination of low concentrations of phosphorus in soil extracts using malachite green. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 55:892-895.

Ohno. T. 1989. Spectrophotometric determination of total cyanide in surface waters following ultraviolet induced photodecomposition. Analyst 114:857-858.


Ohno, T., P. Chen, E. Mallory, E. K. McCormick, S. Shah. 2004. Sorption of crop residue- derived dissolved organic matter by soils and its relevance to allelopathic expression. Alleopathy J. 14:13-22.

Ohno, T., M.Y. Horesh, K.A. Merritt, and R. Wagai. 2002. Calcium and pH effects on salicylic acid phytotoxicity. Allelopathy J. 9:19-25. (PDF)

Ohno, T. 2001. Oxidation of allelopathic cinnamic acid derivatives by soil and its relevance to phytotoxicity. J. Environ. Qual. 30:1631-1635. (PDF)

Ohno, T. and K. Doolan. 2001. Effects of Red Clover Decomposition on Phytotoxicity to Wild Mustard Seedling Growth. J. Appl. Soil Ecol. 16:187-192. (PDF)

Ohno, T, K. Doolan, L.M. Zibilske, M. Liebman, E.R. Gallandt, and C. Berube. 2000. Phytotoxic Effects of Red Clover Amended Soils on Wild Mustard Seedling Growth. Agric. Ecosystems Environ. 78:187-192. (PDF)

Ohno, T. and P.R. First. 1998. Assessment of the Folin & Ciocalteu’s method for determining soil phenolic carbon. J. Environ. Qual. 27:776-782.

Liebman, M. and T. Ohno. 1997. Crop rotation and legume residue effects on weed emergence and growth: applications for weed management. Pages 181-221 in: J. L. Hatfield, D. D. Buhler, and B. A. Stewart (eds.), Integrated Weed and Soil Management. Ann Arbor Press, Chelsea, MI.

Wood Ash and Other Residuals

Montgomery, M., T. Ohno, T.S. Griffin, C.W. Honeycutt and I.J. Fernandez.  2005. Phosphorus mineralization and bioavailability in soils amended with biosolids and manures. Bio. Agric. Hort 22:321-334.

Chaoui, H.I., L.M. Zibilske, and T. Ohno. 2003. Effects of earthworm cast and compost on soil microbial activity and plant nutrient availability. Soil Biol. Biochem. 35:295-302 (PDF)

Zhan, G., M.S. Erich, and T. Ohno. 1996. Release of trace elements from wood ash by nitric acid. Water, Air, Soil, Pollut. 86:1-15.

Ohno, T. and M.S. Erich. 1993. Incubation-derived calcium carbonate equivalence of papermill boiler ashes derived from sludge and wood sources. Environ. Pollut. 79:175-180.

Erich, M.S. and T. Ohno. 1992. Titrimetric determination of calcium carbonate equivalence of wood ash. Analyst 117:993-995.

Ohno, T. 1992. Neutralization of soil acidity and release of phosphorus and potassium by wood ash. J. Environ. Qual. 21:433-438.

Erich, M.S. and T. Ohno. 1992. Phosphorus availability to corn from wood ash-amended soils. Water Air Soil Pollut. 64:475-485.

Erich, M.S. 1991. Agronomic effectiveness of wood ash as a source of phosphorus and potassium. J. Environ. Qual. 20:576-581.

Ohno, T. and M.S. Erich. 1990. Effect of wood ash applicaltion on soil pH and soil test nutrient levels. Agric. Ecosystems Environ. 32:223-239.

Past Graduate Students

James Hunt, M.S.  2006.  Chemical characterization of dissolved organic matter: Competitive Effects on Phosphorus Sorption to Minerals.

Allison Piper, M.S.  2005.  Root Length Affects Soluble Carbon and Phosphorus in a Rotational Cropping System.

Karen Merritt, M.S. 2002. Early Stage Humification During Amendment Decomposition and Its Influence on Cu-Binding Capacity of Dissolved Organic Carbon.

Matthew Montgomery, M.S. 2000. Soil Phosphorus Bioavailability Following Sewage Sludge or Animal Manure Applications to an Acidic Agricultural Soil.

Anne Conklin, M.S., 2000. Effects of Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) Green Manure and Compost Soil Amendments on the Growth and Health of Wild Mustard (Brassica kaber) Seedlings.

Hala Chaoui, M.S., 2000. Impacts of Earthworm Casts, Compost and Synthetic Fertilizers on Plant Nutrient Availability and Soil Microbial Activity.

Angsana Tokitkla, M.S., 2000. Rotation Crop Root Density and Effects on Subsequent Potato Crop.

Caragh Fitzgerald, M.S., 1998. Soil Phosphorus in Aroostook County (Maine) Potato Cropping Systems: Organic Matter Effects and Residual Phosphorus Contributions. [Co-advised with Dr. Greg Porter]

Kristan Doolan, M.S. 1997. The Allelopathic Potential of Red Clover.

Brad Crannell, M.S. 1995. Effects of Dissolved Organic Matter from Green and Animal Manures on Phosphate Sorption of an Acidic Agricultural Soil.

Georgette Trusty, M.S. 1995. Response of Organic and Mineral Horizon Soils from Maine Forests to Incubation with Lime.

Guogen Zhan, M.S. 1992. Controls on the Dissolution of Trace Elements from Wood Ash.

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