Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Phosphorus dynamics in Swedish agricultural soils as influenced by fertilization and mineralogical properties: Insights gained from batch experiments and XANES spectroscopy

Eriksson, Ann Kristin; Hesterberg, Dean; Klysubun, Wantana; Gustafsson, Jon-Petter; Gustafsson, Jon Petter


The soil chemistry of phosphorus (P) is important for understanding the processes governing plant availability as well as the risk of environmental losses of P. The objective of this research was to investigate both the speciation and the pH-dependent solubility patterns of P in clayey agricultural soils in relation to soil mineralogy and fertilization history. The study focused on soil samples from six fields that were subjected to different P fertilization regimes for periods of 45 to 57 years. Soil P speciation was analyzed by P K-edge XANES spectroscopy and chemical fractionation, sorption isotherms were constructed, and dissolved P was measured as a function of pH. The XANES fitting results showed that organic P and P adsorbed to Fe and Al (hydr) oxides were common P constituents in all soils. Calciumphosphateswere identified in five of six soil samples. The XANES results also indicated an increase in P adsorbed to Al and to a lesser extent Fe (hydr) oxides as a result of fertilization. Moreover, the fluorescence intensity from the P K-edge XANES analysis was most strongly correlated with HCl-digestible P (r = 0.81***). Consistent with the XANES analysis, laboratory sorption isotherm models showed that the Freundlich sorption coefficient (K-F) was most closely related to oxalate-extractable Al. Greater proportions of Ca phosphate in two of the heavily fertilized soils in combination with enhanced PO4 solubilization upon sample acidification indicated neoformation of Ca-phosphate precipitates. The results for the unfertilized soil samples generally showed a minimum in dissolved PO4 between pH 6.5 and 7.5, with increases particularly at lower pH. This behavior can be explained either by the dissolution of Al-hydroxide-type sorbents or Ca phosphates at lower pH. In fertilized soils, there was no consistent trend in pH-dependent solubilization of P, with a complex relationship to solid-phase speciation. To conclude, inorganic P species changed most dynamically in agricultural clay soils over a period of several decades, and the role of pH in the solubilization of P depended mainly on P fertilization history and the content of reactive Ca phosphates. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


XANES spectroscopy; Phosphorus; Phosphate; Apatite; Secondary iron and aluminium (hydr)oxides; Clay mineralogy

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2016, volume: 566-567, pages: 1410-1419

Authors' information

Eriksson, Ann Kristin
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Hesterberg, Dean
North Carolina State University (NC State)
Klysubun, Wantana
Synchotron Light Research Institute (SLRI)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Gustafsson, Jon Petter (Gustafsson, Jon-Petter)
Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)