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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 628024, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/628024
Research Article

Soil Assessment along Toposequences in Rural Northern Nigeria: A Geomedical Approach

1Institute of Physical Geography, University of Frankfurt, Altenhöferallee 1, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2Institute of Physical Geography and Landscape Ecology, University of Hannover, Schneiderberg 50, 30167 Hannover, Germany
3Physical and Environmental Science Department, University of Toronto Scarborough, Military Trail 1265, Toronto, ON, Canada M1C 1A4
4Institute of Geography and Geology, University of Würzburg, Am Hubland, 97084 Würzburg, Germany

Received 23 July 2013; Revised 25 February 2014; Accepted 7 March 2014; Published 27 March 2014

Academic Editor: Amaresh K. Nayak

Copyright © 2014 Lena Hartmann et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Case numbers of endemic Ca-deficiency rickets (CDR) have been reported to be alarmingly rising among children of subsistence farms in developing countries within the last 30 years. Fluoride toxicities in the environment are known to not be related to the disease. To investigate if, instead, CDR is caused by a nutrient deficiency in the environment, subsistence farms in an endemic CDR area near Kaduna, northern Nigeria, were investigated for bedrock, slope forms, soil types, and soil characteristics. The natural environment was investigated according to the World Reference Base, soil texture was analysed by pipette and sieving, and plant-available macronutrients were determined using barium-chloride or Ca-acetate-lactate extraction. The analyses showed that granite and slope deposits were the dominant parent materials. The typical slope forms and soil types were Lixisols and Acrisols on pediments, Fluvisols in river valleys, and Plinthosols and Acrisols on plains. Compared with West African background values, all of the soils had normal soil textures but were low in macronutrients. Comparisons to critical limits, however, showed that only the P concentrations were critically low, which are typical for savanna soils. A link between nutrient deficiency in soils and CDR in the Kaduna area was therefore considered unlikely.