Estimates of mean residence times of phosphorus in commonly considered inorganic soil phosphorus pools

Helfenstein, Julian; Pistocchi, Chiara; Oberson, Astrid; Tamburini, Federica; Goll, Daniel S.; Frossard, Emmanuel

Quantification of turnover of inorganic soil phosphorus (P) pools is essential to improve our understanding of P cycling in soil–plant systems and improve representations of the P cycle in land surface models. Turnover can be quantified using mean residence time (MRT); however, to date there is little information on MRT of P in soil P pools. We introduce an approach to quantify MRT of P in sequentially extracted inorganic soil P pools using data from isotope exchange kinetic experiments. Our analyses of 53 soil samples from the literature showed that MRT of labile P (resin- and bicarbonate-extractable P) was on the order of minutes to hours for most soils, MRT in NaOH-extractable P (NaOH-P) was in the range of days to months, and MRT in HCl-extractable P (HCl-P) was on the order of years to millennia. Multiple-regression models were able to capture 54 %–63 % of the variability in MRT among samples and showed that land use was the most important predictor of MRT of P in labile and NaOH pools. MRT of P in HCl-P was strongly dependent on pH, as high-pH soils tended to have longer MRTs. This was interpreted to be related to the composition of HCl-P. Under high pH, HCl-P contains mostly apatite, with a low solubility, whereas under low-pH conditions, HCl-P may contain more exchangeable P forms. These results suggest that current land surface models underestimate the dynamics of inorganic soil P pools and could be improved by reducing model MRTs of the labile and NaOH-P pools, considering soil-type-dependent MRTs rather than universal exchange rates and allowing for two-way exchange between HCl-P and the soil solution.



Helfenstein, Julian / Pistocchi, Chiara / Oberson, Astrid / et al: Estimates of mean residence times of phosphorus in commonly considered inorganic soil phosphorus pools. 2020. Copernicus Publications.


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