Transformations of phosphate (Pi) in different soil fractions were tracked using the stable isotopic composition of oxygen in phosphate (??18Op) and Pi concentrations. Clay soil from Israel was treated with either reclaimed waste water (secondary, low grade) or with fresh water amended with a chemical fertilizer of a known isotopic signature. Changes of ??18Op and Pi within different soil fractions, during a month of incubation, elucidate biogeochemical processes in the soil, revealing the biological and the chemical transformation impacting the various P pools. P in the soil solution is affected primarily by enzymatic activity that yields isotopic equilibrium with the water molecules in the soil solution. The dissolved P interacts rapidly with the loosely bound P (extracted by bicarbonate). The oxides and mineral P fractions (extracted by NaOH and HCl, respectively), which are considered as relatively stable pools of P, also exhibited isotopic alterations in the first two weeks after P application, likely related to the activity of microbial populations associated with soil surfaces. Specifically, isotopic depletion which could result from organic P mineralization was followed by isotopic enrichment which could result from preferential biological uptake of depleted P from the mineralized pool. Similar transformations were observed in both soils although transformations related to biological activity were more pronounced in the soil treated with reclaimed waste water compared to the fertilizer treated soil. ?? 2010 Elsevier B.V.
Additional publication details
Phosphorus dynamics in soils irrigated with reclaimed waste water or fresh water - A study using oxygen isotopic composition of phosphate