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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Vadose Zone Processes and Chemical Transport

Colloidal and Dissolved Phosphorus in Sandy Soils as Affected by Phosphorus Saturation


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 34 No. 3, p. 926-935
    Received: Mar 8, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): katrin.ilg@tu-berlin.de
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  1. Katrin Ilg *,
  2. Jan Siemens and
  3. Martin Kaupenjohann
  1. Department of Soil Science, Institute of Ecology, Berlin University of Technology, Salzufer 11-12, D-10587 Berlin, Germany


Fertilization exceeding crop requirements causes an accumulation of phosphorus (P) in soils, which might increase concentrations of dissolved and colloidal P in drainage. We sampled soils classified as Typic Haplorthods from four fertilization experiments to test (i) whether increasing degrees of phosphorus saturation (DPS) increase concentrations of dissolved and colloidal P, and (ii) if critical DPS levels can be defined for P release from these soils. Oxalate-extractable concentrations of P, iron (Fe), and aluminum (Al) were quantified to characterize DPS. Turbidity, zeta potential, dissolved P, and colloidal P, Fe, Al, and carbon (C) concentrations were determined in water and KCl extracts. While concentrations of dissolved P decreased with increasing depth, concentrations of water-extractable colloidal P remained constant. In topsoils 28 ± 17% and in subsoils 94 ± 8% of water-extractable P was bound to colloids. Concentrations of dissolved P increased sharply for DPS > 0.1. Colloidal P concentrations increased with increasing DPS because of an additional mobilization of colloids and due to an increase of the colloids P contents. In addition to DPS, ionic strength and Ca2+ affected the release of colloidal P. Hence, using KCl for extraction improved the relationship between DPS and colloidal P compared with water extraction. Accumulation of P in soils increases not only concentrations of dissolved P but also the risk of colloidal P mobilization. Leaching of colloidal P is potentially important for inputs of P into water bodies because colloidal P as the dominant water-extractable P fraction in subsoils was released from soils with relatively low DPS.

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