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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Seasonal Phosphatase Activity in Three Characteristic Soils of the English Uplands Polluted by Long-Term Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition

item Turner, Benjamin
item Baxter, Robert - UNIV. OF DURHAM, UK
item Whitton, Brian - UNIV. OF DURHAM, UK

Submitted to: Environmental Pollution
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 25, 2002
Publication Date: October 1, 2002

Interpretive Summary: The northern English uplands have received substantial deposition of reactive nitrogen from the atmosphere for more than a century, which can enhance biological phosphorus limitation and the utilization of organic phosphorus by plants and microorganisms. In soils from Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve, a region subjected to atmospheric nitrogen deposition for many years, the activity of enzymes secreted by organisms to access organic phosphorus compounds were among the highest reported in the world. This confirms that nitrogen pollution from the atmosphere can have a marked impact on the biogeochemistry of sensitive upland environments.

Technical Abstract: Phosphomonoesterase activities were determined monthly during a seasonal cycle in three characteristic soil types of the English uplands that have been subject to long-term atmospheric nitrogen deposition. Activities (µmol para-nitrophenol per gram soil dry wt per hour) ranged between 83.9 - 307 in a blanket peat (total carbon 318 mg per gram, pH 3.9), 45.2 - 86.4 in an acid organic grassland soil (total carbon 354 mg per gram, pH 3.7) and 10.4 - 21.1 in a calcareous grassland soil (total carbon 140 mg per gram, pH 7.3). These are amongst the highest reported soil phosphomonoesterase activities and confirm the strong biological phosphorus limitation in this environment.

Last Modified: 4/1/2015
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