Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 199–204

Phosphatase activity in the rhizosphere and its relation to the depletion of soil organic phosphorus


  • J. C. Tarafdar
    • Institut für Agrikulturchemie der Georg-August-Universität
  • A. Jungk
    • Institut für Agrikulturchemie der Georg-August-Universität

DOI: 10.1007/BF00640630

Cite this article as:
Tarafdar, J.C. & Jungk, A. Biol Fert Soils (1987) 3: 199. doi:10.1007/BF00640630


The distribution of phosphatase activity and of phosphate fractions of the soil in the proximity of roots was studied in order to evaluate the significance of phosphatases in P nutrition of various plants (Brassica oleracea, Allium cepa, Triticum aestivum, Trifolium alexandrinum). A considerable increase in both acid and alkaline phosphatase activity in all the four soil-root interfaces was observed. Maximum distances from the root surface at which activity increases were observed ranged from 2.0 mm to 3.1 mm for acid phosphatase and from 1.2 mm to 1.6 mm for alkaline phosphatase. The increase in phosphatase activity depended upon plant age, plant species and soil type. A significant correlation was noticed between the depletion of organic P and phosphatase activity in the rhizosphere soil of wheat (r = 0.99**) and clover (r = 0.97**). The maximum organic P depletion was 65% in clover and 86% in wheat, which was observed within a distance from the root of 0.8 mm in clover and 1.5 mm in wheat. Both the phosphatases in combination appear to be responsible for the depletion of organic P.

Key words

PhosphatasesRhizosphereOrganic phosphorusAllium cepaBrassica oleraceaTriticum aestivumTrifolium alexandrinum
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© Springer-Verlag 1987