Assessing pedotransfer functions to estimate the soil water retention


  • Bruno Teixeira Ribeiro Universidade Federal de Lavras
  • Adriana Monteiro da Costa Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
  • Bruno Montoani Silva Universidade Federal de Lavras
  • Fernando Oliveira Franco Empresa de Pesquisa Agropecuária de Minas Gerais
  • Camila Silva Borges Universidade Federal de Lavras



Soil-water retention, Principal component analysis, Soil moisture


Considering the importance of soil water retention for agricultural and environmental purposes, the objective of this study was to assess three pedotransfer functions (PTFs) used to estimate the soil moisture at field capacity (FC) based on soil attributes easily determined. A collection of 17 soils from the Cerrado and Pantanal biomes, including surface and subsurface horizons, was used. PTF-1 considers clay, organic matter, coarse sand, and microporosity; PTF-2 clay, total sand, and organic matter; and PTF-3 only microporosity. The estimated FC values were correlated to soil moisture values measured at different soil water potentials (0, 6, 10, 33, 100, 300, and 1500 kPa) to verify which potential corresponded to estimated FC. The data were subjected to regression analysis and Mann-Whitney rank-sum test to compare predicted and measured values and to principal component analysis (PCA). The analysis of the full dataset indicated that there was a strong correlation (R 0.84-0.91; R2 0.71-0.82; RMSE 0.07-0.09) between estimated FC and soil water retention measured at potentials of 10 kPa and 33 kPa. FC estimated by PTF-3 correlated better with water holding capacity at 6 kPa. When the PTFs were reapplied to homogeneous soil groups (identified by PCA analysis), the correlation between predicted and measured FC was decreased.


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How to Cite

RIBEIRO, B.T., DA COSTA, A.M., SILVA, B.M., FRANCO, F.O. and BORGES, C.S., 2018. Assessing pedotransfer functions to estimate the soil water retention . Bioscience Journal [online], vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 177–188. [Accessed25 May 2022]. DOI 10.14393/BJ-v34n6a2018-42371. Available from:



Agricultural Sciences