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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Effects of pH and Organic Acids on Orthophosphate Solubility in an Acidic, Montmorillonitic Soil1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 50 No. 1, p. 45-52
    Received: May 9, 1985
    Accepted: Aug 13, 1985

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  1. Samuel J. Traina,
  2. Garrison Sposito,
  3. Dean Hesterberg and
  4. U. Kafkafi2



The effects of pH and organic acid addition on residual orthophosphate (o-phosphate) solubility in an acidic, montmorillonitic soil separate suspended in 20 mol NaCl m−3 were investigated. In the absence of added organic acid, the solubility of residual o-phosphate in the soil decreased as the pH value was increased from 4 to 7. With o-phosphate additions that resulted in low aqueous-solution o-phosphate concentrations, the soil sorbed more o-phosphate at pH 7 than at 5.5. The solubility data appeared consistent with the presence of an Al-phosphate solid whose formation was initiated through the hydrolysis of exchangeable Al3+ and subsequent reaction of the hydrolytic product with o-phosphate in aqueous solution. Additions of citric, tartaric, or formic acid at low concentrations (<0.1 mol m−3) produced a drop in residual o-phosphate solubility at pH 5.5 and 7.0. In the case of citric acid, o-phosphate solubility gradually returned to its value in the absence of organic ligand as the ligand concentration was increased to 0.6 mol m−3, whereas no such increase occurred in the case of tartaric or formic acid. This behavior was rationalized as the outcome principally of two competing reactions: (i) the reaction of adsorbed, polymeric hydroxy-Al with organic ligand to form an exchangeable Al species that combined with o-phosphate to reduce its solubility, and (ii) the complexation of adsorbed Al to form a soluble Al-organic complex that did not subsequently combine with o-phosphate. The latter reaction was important only for citric acid. The former reaction, favored by a large stability constant for Al-organic acid adducts, produced o-phosphate solubility decreases in the order citrate > tartrate > formate.

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