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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 69 No. 3, p. 630-633
    Received: Sept 1, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): turnerbl@si.edu
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Storage-Induced Changes in Phosphorus Solubility of Air-Dried Soils

  1. Benjamin L. Turner *
  1. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Box 2072, Balboa, Ancon, Republic of Panama


Soil is commonly stored in an air-dried state for extended periods before chemical analysis. The effect of storage on P solubility was assessed by determining NaHCO3–extractable P concentrations in a range of pasture soils from England and Wales (total C = 28.9–80.4 g kg−1, clay = 219–681 g kg−1, pH = 4.4–6.8) immediately following air drying and after 3 yr of storage at ambient laboratory temperature. Following storage, NaHCO3–extractable inorganic P concentrations decreased by between 2 and 60% (mean decrease = 21%), while NaHCO3–extractable organic P concentrations increased by between 48 and 156% (mean increase = 95%). The greatest changes occurred in soils of pH < 5.3. The changes appear to result from the disruption of organic matter coatings on mineral surfaces, continuous solid-phase diffusion of phosphate into soil particles, and decomposition of microbial cells. The results have important implications for the determination of NaHCO3–extractable P in stored soils and highlight the importance of working with fresh samples to derive information with relevance to field conditions.

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