Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 73, Issue 2–3, pp 181–189 | Cite as

Effect of Green Manure Addition on Soil Organic Phosphorus Mineralisation

  • Parmjit S. Randhawa
  • Leo M. Condron
  • Hong J. Di
  • Sokrat Sinaj
  • Roger D. McLenaghen


The mineralization of organic forms of phosphorus (P) in soil contributes significantly to plant P uptake, although quantification of organic P mineralisation has been impeded by methodological difficulties. An isotopic dilution method, based on tracer kinetic theory, was used to study the organic P flux rates for unamended and green manure amended soil in an incubation experiment carried out over 35 days. Firstly, the specific activity (SA) between two points of time as affected by dominant biological processes (under conditions of constant soil respiration rates) was determined in a series of successive labelling incubation experiments. Secondly, the instantaneous specific activity (instSA) between two points of time was also determined by shaking an unlabelled soil with 33P, i.e. soil samples that were not labelled with 33P, but kept under conditions identical to the labelled soil samples. This gives the net size of the exchangeable inorganic P pool in the labelling experiments at two points of time during incubation. The SA dilution in the labelling experiments at a constant exchangeable inorganic P pool between two times was attributed to the release of non-labelled inorganic P from the organic P pool by mineralisation. The daily gross organic P mineralisation rates for the 21 days of incubation were 0.06 and 0.27 mg P kg−1 day−1 for unamended and green manure amended soils, respectively. The study demonstrated that green manure amendment contributed to an overall increase in soil P availability through enhanced organic P mineralisation.


Flux approach Green manure Isotopic dilution Lupinus angustifolius Organic P mineralisation Zea mays 





water-soluble inorganic P


specific activity


instantaneous specific activity






flux rate


exchangeable inorganic P pool




total 33P introduced in the unlabeled soil


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Parmjit S. Randhawa
    • 1
  • Leo M. Condron
    • 1
  • Hong J. Di
    • 1
  • Sokrat Sinaj
    • 2
  • Roger D. McLenaghen
    • 1
  1. 1.Agriculture and Life SciencesLincoln UniversityCanterburyNew Zealand
  2. 2.Institute of Plant SciencesSwiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ)Eschikon-LindauSwitzerland

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