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Plant and Soil

, Volume 424, Issue 1–2, pp 367–388 | Cite as

Water soluble phosphate fertilizers for crops grown in calcareous soils – an outdated paradigm for recycled phosphorus fertilizers?

  • G. Meyer
  • E. Frossard
  • P. Mäder
  • S. Nanzer
  • D. G. Randall
  • K. M. Udert
  • A. Oberson
Regular Article

Abstract

Background and aims

The current paradigm for phosphorus (P) fertilizers applied to calcareous soil is that almost entirely water soluble P fertilizers are efficient and sparingly soluble P fertilizers are not efficient P sources for crops. We hypothesize that this paradigm does not apply to recycled P fertilizers and that other P pools can explain the plant use of recycled P fertilizers on calcareous soil.

Methods

We applied 33P isotopic dilution method to evaluate recycled P fertilizers based on plant P uptake from fertilizer relative to plant uptake from a water soluble P reference fertilizer. The predictability of fertilizer effectiveness based on sequentially extracted P forms and X-ray diffraction pattern of recycled fertilizers derived from sewage sludge, human urine and organic waste was evaluated.

Results

The plant experiments showed that tested recycled P fertilizers including compost were more effective than rock phosphate. The water insoluble P contained in urine based products was almost as effective as a fully water soluble P fertilizer. The tested recycled P fertilizers are characterized by complex P compounds differing in solubility which were so far not considered in the water and citric acid extraction methods. The fraction of resin- and NaHCO3 extractable fertilizer P explained effectiveness of P fertilizer applied to the calcareous and to an acidic soil.

Conclusion

We concluded that water solubility is not required when P forms in recycled products are comparable to reactions products of rock phosphate based fertilizers in soil. Alternatives to fully water soluble P fertilizers are available to supply P to crops grown on calcareous soil efficiently.

Keywords

Phosphorus Calcareous soil Isotopic dilution Recycled fertilizer Sequential fractionation Fertilizer effectiveness 

Abbreviations

AC

Acidic soil

AL

Calcareous soil

CSHP

Calcium silicate hydrate phosphate

DAMP

Di-ammonium phosphate

DCP

Di-calcium phosphate

MAP

Mono-ammonium phosphate

MCP

Mono-calcium phosphate

OWDd

Organic waste based solid digestate, dried

OWDdc

Organic waste based solid digestate, composted

Pdf

Phosphorus derived from

RP

Rock phosphate

SSA

Sewage sludge ash

STRU

Struvite

UCfN

Urine calcium full nutrient

UCP

Urine calcium phosphate

WSP

Water soluble P

XRD

X-ray diffraction

Notes

Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the help of Brian Sinnet from Eawag with XRD analysis and Laurie Mauclaire-Schönholzer, Iris Huber and Eric Vogelsanger for their help with analyses and the plant growth experiments. We thank Jacques Fuchs from FiBL Switzerland for having provided the contact to the biogas plant in Pratteln, Switzerland. We also thank Wolfgang Ewert and Andreas Lengemann from Berliner Wasserbetriebe Wassmannsdorf, Germany, and Anke Ehbrecht from the Karlsruher Institute of Technology (KIT) for providing their recycled P products. Finally, we acknowledge the financial support of the CORE Organic II Funding Bodies, being partners of the FP7 ERA-Net project, CORE Organic II (Coordination of European Transnational Research in Organic Food and Farming systems, project no. 249667). We also thank N.J. Barrow and the three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.

Supplementary material

11104_2017_3545_MOESM1_ESM.docx (297 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 297 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Group of Plant Nutrition, Institute of Agricultural SciencesETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLFrickSwitzerland
  3. 3.Eawag Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and TechnologyDubendorfSwitzerland

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