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Research article2011Peer reviewedOpen access

Identification of hydrological factors controlling phosphorus concentration in drainage water in sandy soils

Salazar, Osvaldo; Wesström, Ingrid; Joel, Abraham


The relationship between total phosphorus (TP) and molybdate-reactive phosphorus (MRP) concentrations in subsurface drainage waters in the hydrological conditions prevailing during autumn and spring flow events was statistically analysed using multiple linear regression analysis. Data on hydrological conditions in three drainage experimental plots in a loamy sand in south-east Sweden complemented with DRAINMOD-predicted data were used as independent variables. Regression models explained at least 80% of the variation in TP and MRP concentrations in drain outflow, based on adjusted coefficient of determination (R-adj(2)) calculations. DRAINMOD-predicted cumulative infiltration (INFILcum) was identified as the most important hydrological condition controlling TP and MRP concentrations in drain outflow in three autumn events and in two out of three spring events. This suggests that the first infiltrating water found more soluble P forms available for transport, after which TP and MRP concentration in drainage outflows gradually decreased during the flow events.


Controlled drainage; DRAINMOD; Matrix flow; Preferential flow; Subsurface flow

Published in

Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition
2011, Volume: 11, number: 2, pages: 31-46