Plant and Soil

, Volume 269, Issue 1–2, pp 1–9 | Cite as

Assessment of P availability in heavily fertilized soils using the diffusive gradient in thin films (DGT) technique

  • Neal W. Menzies
  • Bambang Kusumo
  • Philip W. Moody


Phosphorus-availability tests typically provide an indication of quantity of P available (Colwell bicarbonate-extractable P), or of the intensity of supply (0.01 M CaCl2-extractable P). The soil’s capacity to buffer P is more difficult to assess, and is generally estimated using a P-adsorption curve. The diffusive gradient in thin films (DGT) approach may provide a simpler means of assessing a soil’s ability to maintain soil solution P. Optimal extraction conditions were found to be 24 h exposure of DGT samplers to saturated soil. The DGT approach was evaluated on a range of 24 soils, some of which had high Colwell- (>100 μg g−1) and Bray 1- (>30 μg g−1) extractable P content, but showed a tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) yield response to the addition of P fertilizer. The DGT approach provided an excellent separation of soils on which tomato showed a yield response, from those where fertilizer P did not increase dry-matter yield. Phosphorus accumulation was strongly correlated with soil solution P concentration and anion exchange resin-extractable P, but showed poor correlation with Colwell- or Bray 1-extractable P. The DGT P accumulation rate of 3.62× 10−7 to 4.79× 10−5 mol s−1 m−3 for the soils tested was comparable to the uptake rate of roots of tomato plants that were adequately supplied with P (2.25× 10−5 mol s−1 m−3).


phosphorus extraction soil testing 



diffusive gradient in thin films


inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neal W. Menzies
    • 1
  • Bambang Kusumo
    • 1
  • Philip W. Moody
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Land and Food SciencesThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Queensland Department of Natural ResourcesMines and EnergyAustralia

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