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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - DIVISION S-1—SOIL PHYSICS

Dissolved Phosphorus from Undisturbed Soil Cores


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 67 No. 2, p. 458-470
    Received: Nov 2, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): tss1@cornell.edu
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  1. M. Saleem Akhtar,
  2. Brian K. Richards,
  3. Pedro A. Medrano,
  4. Maarten deGroot and
  5. Tammo S. Steenhuis *
  1. Dep. Bio. and Env. Eng., Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853


While the rapid transport of nonadsorbed chemicals is relatively well understood, preferential transport of adsorbable chemicals including P requires further study. Our objective was to characterize subsurface P transport in glaciated soils of the northeastern USA. Large intact columns from five soils with differing structures were subjected in duplicate to both synthetic acid rainfall at a low rate simulating natural rainfall, and ponded water for observing saturated flow. The rain was enriched with inorganic and organic P after baseline conditions were established. Drainage water P concentrations were measured and adsorption isotherms were determined. Type of flow was characterized using Cl breakthrough curves and visualizations of blue dye patterns. Baseline P concentrations in drainage water were 0.02 to 0.04 mg L−1 At low flow rates, P appeared in the drainage water soon after application of either inorganic or organic P for the silt loam soil (firm, moderate coarse prismatic parting to moderate medium subangular blocky structure) in which preferential flow paths carried most of the water flow. In contrast, the soils in which matrix type flow dominated (weak fine granular or weak medium subangular blocky structures) had little or no increase in drainage water P. However, under ponded conditions all soils exhibited preferential flow and rapid P breakthrough. Elevated P concentration in the drainage water could not be explained by the P adsorption strength with the possible exception of the sandy loam soil, where the outflow P concentration was consistently low. Variation in flow rate in conjunction with soil structure satisfactorily explained elevated concentrations of dissolved inorganic and organic P in drainage water from surface applied P.

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Copyright © 2003. Soil Science SocietyPublished in Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.67:458–470.