Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedNot offered in 2014
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Tony Patti


Topics include the nature of soil, its formation and classification; physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil; soil organic matter; chemistry of the nutrients in soil including ion exchange, ion sorption, redox potential; environmental impact of soil salinity, acidity and soil erosion and their management practices; effect of human inputs and activities on soils including agrochemicals, agricultural and industrial wastes and pollutants.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the fundamental properties of soil and its composition;

  1. Explain the role of physical, chemical and biological properties of soil in maintaining soil fertility;

  1. Summarise the chemistry of essential plant nutrients including N, P, K, and trace metals;

  1. Give selected examples of the biotransformation of plant nutrients;

  1. Discuss environmental and resource issues relevant to soil including acidity, salinity, soil erosion, chemical pollution, soil management practices and effects of human inputs to soil;

  1. Use selected laboratory and field techniques to assess soil chemical and physical properties.


Written examination: 60%
Written assignments/field excursion report: 15%
Laboratory work: 25%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

3 hours lectures/tutorial per week and 3 hours of practical work per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


One of CHM1022, CHM1639 or CHM1742; or one of CHM1011, CHM1031 or CHM1731 together with ATS2774