Land use and soil factors affecting accumulation of phosphorus species in temperate soils

Marc I. Stutter, Charles A. Shand, Timothy S. George, Martin S A Blackwell, Liz Dixon, Roland Bol, Regina L. MacKay, Alan E. Richardson, Leo M. Condron, Philip M. Haygarth

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    141 Citations (Scopus)


    Data on the distribution of phosphorus (P) species in soils with differing land uses and properties are essential to understanding environmental P availability and how fertiliser inputs, cropping and grazing affect accumulation of soil inorganic P (Pi) and organic P (Po) forms. We examined thirty-two temperate soils (with soil organic C concentrations 12-449gCkg-1 and total P 295-3435mgPkg-1) for biogeochemical properties of soil C, reactive surfaces and P by common indices and 31P-NMR spectroscopy on NaOH-EDTA extracts for P species. Arable soil P was dominated by inorganic orthophosphate (276-2520mgPkg-1), >monoester P (105-446mgPkg-1). The limited diesters, polyphosphates and microbial P in arable soils suggest that cropping and fertiliser inputs limit ecosystem microbial functions and P diversity. Intensive grassland had inorganic orthophosphate concentrations (233-842mgPkg-1) similar to monoesters (200-658mgPkg-1)>diesters (0-50mgPkg-1) and polyphosphates (1-78mgPkg-1). As grazing became more extensive P in semi-natural systems was dominated by organic P, including monoesters (37-621mgPkg-1) and other diverse forms; principally diester (0-102mgPkg-1) and polyphosphates (0-108mgPkg-1). These were related to SOC, water extractable organic carbon (WEOC) and microbial P, suggesting strong microbially-mediated processes. A number of abiotic and biotic related processes appeared to control accumulation of different soil P species and gave considerable variability in forms and concentrations within land use groups. The implications are that to increase agricultural P efficiencies mechanisms to utilise both soil Pi and Po are needed and that specific management strategies may be required for site-specific circumstances of soil C and reactive properties such as Fe and Al complexes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)29-39
    Number of pages11
    Early online date31 Mar 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


    • Carbon
    • Land use
    • Oxalate extractable Fe, Al
    • Phosphorus species
    • Soils

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Soil Science


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