Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Soil Testing and Analyses for Different Phosphorus Pools

Authors
item Bowman, Rudolph
item VIGIL, MERLE

Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 30, 2001
Publication Date: November 1, 2002
Citation: BOWMAN, R.A., VIGIL, M.F. SOIL TESTING AND ANALYSES FOR DIFFERENT PHOSPHORUS POOLS. JOURNAL OF SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION. 2002. v. 57. p. 479-485.

Interpretive Summary: Knowledge of soil phosphorus pools and their measurements is important in nutrient cycling studies. A literature review was therefore prepared to meet this objective. Methodologies for various inorganic and organic P pools were presented along with a discussion of their use in soil fertility and water pollution studies. Various regional and universal soil test P, and a P index for potential pollution assessment were discussed. Phosphoru serves as an important soil nutrient, but it must be managed correctly so it does not become a pollutant. The P soil test and a P index serve as indicators of its status. However, knowledge of the soil P reactive potential (buffering capacity, maximum sorption) would be complimentary to soil test data.

Technical Abstract: Soil phosphorus (P) pools can broadly be placed into four main groups: primary P minerals, secondary P minerals, occluded P minerals, and organic. The dominant groups are highly dependent upon soil pH and P inputs. Chemical procedures for the first three groups are usually based upon the ability of the extractant to separate P from the dominant cations such as Ca, Fe, and Al, or from reactive clay surfaces. Generally, the first three groups exist in inorganic forms and the fourth as part of the soil organic matter. The primary and secondary P minerals through its equilibrium with the soil solution P, contribute to the plant-available P, and consequently, to the extractable P in a soil test. The organic P requires mineralization to orthophosphate first before it becomes a part of the available P, and the occluded P requires dissolution of an outer protective coating. Areas of similar soil mineralogy and pH usually have the same soil test. Thus, in narid western States, the sodium bicarbonate (Olsen) procedure is utilized, and in areas of greater rainfall where acid soils exist, the Bray-1 procedure is used. More universal methods include the Mehlich 3 procedure which is acceptable for both acid and basic soils. Thus, categories (low, medium, high) are established for soil test values based upon the probability of response of a crop to added fertilizer P. As the second most important soil element, knowledge of the cycling and fate of this nutrient is essential for good soil management and productivity.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page