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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 1 No. 3, p. 311-314
    Received: Nov 29, 1971

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Escape of Elemental Phosphorus from Soil when Applied as White Phosphorus or the Phosphorus-Sulfur Eutectic Solution1

  1. R. E. Warnock2



When molten white phosphorus was applied to soil and not adequately covered, oxides of P issued from the soil surface. The escape of P from soil fertilized with pellets of white phosphorus or the eutectic solution of P4-S8 was determined. Most of the P recovered from the atmosphere was P4 rather than oxides, furthermore, P4 escape was considerably greater from phosphorus applied as the P4-S8 eutectic solution than from pellets of white phosphorus. The escape of P4 from the eutectic solution also persisted longer than from a like application of white phosphorus. No appreciable difference was found in phosphorus escape from a calcareous soil as compared to that from an acid soil. Phosphorus escape was reduced by deeper placement, but was not prevented by placement at a depth of 10 cm or by increased soil moisture levels up to field capacity. Phosphorus sulfides applied to soil did not release phosphorus as did the eutectic solution of P4-S8. Calculations suggest that hazardous levels of P4 might accumulate in the air above fields fertilized with the P4-S8 eutectic solution.

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