In the Cerrado savanna region in Brazil, the effects of different land use on axisol aggregation were studied using laser diffraction grain size analyses. The topsoil of plowed systems had significantly lower amount of macroaggregates (2000-194 μm) and a significantly higher amount of soil in the microaggregate size and primary particle fraction (< 76 μm) compared to pastures and the native Cerrado. In plowed systems low in soil organic carbon (SOC), lime had a negative effect on aggregate stability. Lime addition had no effect on topsoil aggregation in land use systems that were not plowed regularly and generally had a higher SOC content. For all the studied topsoils, pH(KCl) was positively correlated with the amount of clay dispersed after 3 h of shaking in water. SOC did not influence clay dispersion in the range of soils studied. In continuous cropping systems in the Cerrado region, with a combination of mechanical stress and low SOC, liming will cause an increase in small aggregates and primary particles and hence contribute to a destabilization of the soil structure.