Schaller, J; Faucherre, S; Joss, H; Obst, M; Goeckede, M; Planer-Friedrich, B; Peiffer, S; Gilfedder, B; Elberling, B: Silicon increases the phosphorus availability of Arctic soils, Scientific Reports(9) (2019), online: 2019-01-24, doi:10.1038/s41598-018-37104-6
Key words: element cycles; cryospheric science

Phosphorus availability in soils is an important parameter influencing primary production in terrestrial ecosystems. Phosphorus limitation exists in many soils since a high proportion of soil phosphorus is stored in unavailable forms for plants, such as bound to iron minerals or stabilized organic matter. This is in spite of soils having a high amount of total soil phosphorus. The feasibility of silicon to mobilize phosphorus from strong binding sites of iron minerals has been shown for marine sediments but is less well studied in soils. Here we tested the effect of silicon on phosphorus mobilization for 143 Artic soils (representing contrasting soil characteristics), which have not been affected by agriculture or other anthropogenic management practices. In agreement with marine studies, silicon availabilities were significantly positive correlated to phosphorus mobilization in these soils. Laboratory experiments confirmed that silicon addition significantly increases phosphorus mobilization, by mobilizing Fe(II)-P phases from mineral surfaces. Silicon addition increased also soil respiration in phosphorus deficient soils. We conclude that silicon is a key component regulating mobilization of phosphorous in Arctic soils, suggesting that this may also be important for sustainable management of phosphorus availability in soils in general.

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