Management Impacts on Biological Phosphorus Cycling in Cropped Soils

Part of the Soil Biology book series (SOILBIOL, volume 26)


Phosphorus (P) is a limited resource and P deficiency limits crop production on large areas worldwide. Future food security, therefore, will largely depend on efficient P use in cropping systems. In this review, we present the impact of farmers’ interventions on biological P cycling in cropped soils of temperate and tropical regions, with emphasis on microbial functions in soil P dynamics. We exemplify the effects of (1) soil tillage, with a focus on the comparison of conventional tillage versus direct seeding systems; (2) fertilizer input, using organic and/or mineral nutrient sources; and (3) integration of legumes into cropping systems. We analyze whether and how biological processes can be influenced to increase the use efficiency of soil and fertilizer P. Finally, we formulate recommendations for an integrated P management. Future research should target improved biological access to recalcitrant inorganic and organic P forms.


Microbial Biomass Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungus Mineral Fertilizer Soil Microbial Biomass Conventional Tillage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We gratefully acknowledge Jan Jansa (ETH Zurich) and two reviewers for their helpful comments on our chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Plant, Animal and Agroecosystem Sciences, Group of Plant NutritionETH Zurich, Research Station EschikonLindauSwitzerland
  2. 2.Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Institute of the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (TSBF-CIAT)NairobiKenya

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