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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Processes Governing Phosphorus Availability in Temperate Soils


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 29 No. 1, p. 15-23
    Received: Aug 31, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): emmanuel.frossard@ipw.agrl.ethz.ch
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  1. E. Frossard *,
  2. L. M. Condron,
  3. A. Oberson,
  4. S. Sinaj and
  5. J. C. Fardeau
  1. Group of Plant Nutrition, Inst. of Plant Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich), CH-8315 Eschikon-Lindau, Switzerland;
    Soil, Plant, and Ecological Sciences Div., P.O. Box 84, Lincoln Univ., Canterbury, New Zealand;
    Soil Science, INRA, RD 10 (Route de Saint Cyr), F-78026 Versailles Cedex, France.



Phosphorus losses from agricultural soil to water bodies are mainly related to the excessive accumulation of available P in soil as a result of long-term inputs of fertilizer P. Since P is a nonrenewable resource, there is a need to develop agricultural systems based on maximum P use efficiency with minimal adverse environmental impacts. This requires detailed understanding of the processes that govern the availability of P in soil, and this paper reviews recent advances in this field. The first part of the review is dedicated to the understanding of processes governing inorganic P release from the solid phase to the soil solution and its measurement using two dynamic approaches: isotope exchange kinetics and desorption of inorganic P with an infinite sink. The second part deals with biologically driven processes. Improved understanding of the abiotic and biotic processes involved in P cycling and availability will be useful in the development of effective strategies to reduce P losses from agricultural soils, which will include matching crop needs with soil P release and the development of appropriate remediation techniques to reduce P availability in high P status soils.

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