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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 75 No. 1, p. 35-44
    Received: Feb 8, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): Cassandra.schefe@dpi.vic.gov.au
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Carboxylic Acids Affect Sorption and Micro-Scale Distribution of Phosphorus in an Acidic Soil

  1. C. R. Schefe *a,
  2. P. Kappenb and
  3. P. J. Pigramb
  1. a Future Farming Systems Res. Division, Dep. of Primary Industries, Rutherglen Centre, Rutherglen, VIC 3685, Australia
    b Dep. of Physics and Centre for Materials and Surface Science La Trobe Univ., Melbourne, VIC 3086, Australia


The availability of P fertilizer to plants is decreased in acid soils due to phosphate sorption onto solid-phase binding sites. A combination of solution analysis, micro-x-ray fluorescence (μ-XRF) and micro-x-ray absorption near edge structure (μ-XANES) spectroscopy were used to investigate the degree to which sorption of fertilizer P is determined by reaction with Al compounds, the extent to which carboxylic acid addition can influence these reactions, and the relative distribution of sorbed P in an acid soil. The addition of carboxylic acids did not change total P sorption, with solid-phase P binding to metal and organic complexes. No treatment effects on P bonding were evident, as measured by μ-XRF and μ-XANES. While μ-XRF and μ-XANES did provide information on P interactions, the high spatial heterogeneity within samples and the need to focus on areas of high P concentration diminished our ability to identify clear treatment effects at the micro scale. Nevertheless, this research did highlight the value of utilizing complementary techniques (solution analyses, XRF, μ-XRF mapping, and XANES) to generate new knowledge about P chemistry in soils.

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