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Phosphorus cycling in wheat pasture rotations .II. The role of the microbial biomass in phosphorus cycling

MJ Mclaughlin, AM Alston and JK Martin

Australian Journal of Soil Research 26(2) 333 - 342
Published: 1988


The incorporation of phosphorus derived from fertilizer and plant residues into the soil microbial biomass was studied under field conditions by using isotopic double labelling. The 33P-labelled medic residues (Medicago truncatula cv. Paraggio) and 32P-labelled fertilizer were added to a solonized brown soil (Calcixerollic xerochrept) before sowing of a wheat crop ( Triticum aestivum cv. Warigal). Amounts of 31P, 32P and 33P in the microbial biomass were determined at 0, 7, 18, 32, 46, 61, 81 and 95 days after sowing of the wheat. Throughout the experiment, amounts of 31P in the microbial biomass were closely related to gravimetric soil water content, with a large and rapid increase in the amount of 3 1 ~ in the microbial biomass being observed in the first 7 days after wetting of the (initially) dry soil. Due to banding of the fertilizer at sowing, little (<5%) of the 32P was recovered in the microbial biomass throughout the experiment. Of the 33P applied in the medic residues, 22-28% was recovered in the microbial biomass. Most of the P taken up by the microbial biomass was derived from native soil P (i.e. not added that season).

© CSIRO 1988

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