Phosphorus desorption dynamics in soil and the link to a dynamic concept of bioavailability

G.F. Koopmans, W.J. Chardon, P. de Willigen, W.H. van Riemsdijk

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44 Citations (Scopus)


Soils under intensive livestock farming and heavily fertilized with animal manure may have elevated soil phosphorus (P) contents. We determined P desorption kinetics in batch experiments using soils from a pot experiment where grass was cropped on a P-rich noncalcareous sandy soil without P addition, to lower the soil P content. A diffusion model was used to describe P desorption kinetics from a spherical aggregate. The model was calibrated with data from the batch experiments. Simulation results show that in the pot experiment, P desorption from the solid phase of the inner layers was initially far from equilibrium with the rest of the aggregate, but desorption came closer to equilibrium as the soil P content decreased further. A simple tool is presented, referred to as the dynamic bioavailability index (DBI), to determine whether kinetics of P desorption limits plant uptake. This tool is the dimensionless ratio of the modeled maximal diffusive flux from soil aggregates to solution and the plant uptake rate measured in the pot experiment. The DBI was initially much larger than one; the maximal possible P desorption rate exceeded the uptake rate, so uptake was not limited by desorption. The DBI stabilized at a value somewhat larger than one after a while, due to soil transport limitations. This decrease coincided with a large decrease of the P content in the grass to a value (far) below what is considered as optimal; the supply rate of P from soil to the root cannot meet the demand needed for optimal P uptake. The DBI could be seen as a promising onset to a new dynamic approach of bioavailability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1393-1402
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • phosphate reaction
  • clay-minerals
  • ion-exchange
  • metal-oxides
  • sandy soil
  • sorption
  • kinetics
  • adsorption
  • model
  • availability

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