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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences

Department Soil Ecology - Prof. Dr. Eva Lehndorff

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Spohn, M: Phosphorus and carbon in soil particle size fractions – A synthesis, Biogeochemistry, 147, 225–242 (2020), doi:10.1007/s10533-019-00633-x
Despite the importance of phosphorus (P) as a macronutrient, the factors controlling the pool sizes of organic and inorganic P (OP and IP) in soils are not yet well understood. Therefore, the aim of this study was to gain insights into the pools sizes of OP, IP and organic carbon (OC) in soils and soil particle size fractions. For this purpose, I analyzed the distribution of OP, IP, and OC among particle size fractions depending on geographical location, climate, soil depth, and land use, based on published data. The clay size fraction contained on average 8.8 times more OP than the sand size fraction and 3.9 and 3.2 times more IP and OC, respectively. The OP concentrations of the silt and clay size fraction were both negatively correlated with mean annual temperature (R2=0.30 and 0.31, respectively, p<0.001). The OC:OP ratios of the silt and clay size fraction were negatively correlated with latitude (R2=0.49 and 0.34, respectively, p<0.001). Yet, the OC:OP ratio of the clay size fraction changed less markedly with latitude than the OC:OP ratio of the silt and the sand size fraction. The OC concentrations of all three particle size fractions were significantly (p<0.05) lower in soils converted to cropland than in adjacent soils under natural vegetation. In contrast, the OP concentration was only significantly (p<0.05) decreased in the sand size fraction but not in the other two particle size fractions due to land-use change. Thus, the findings suggest that OP is more persistent in soil than OC, which is most likely due to strong sorptive stabilization of OP compounds to mineral surfaces.
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