Plant and Soil

, Volume 198, Issue 2, pp 159–168

Soil phosphorus fractions and adsorption as affected by organic and inorganic sources


  • Generose Nziguheba
    • Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Programme (TSBF)
    • International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF)
  • Cheryl A. Palm
    • Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Programme (TSBF)
  • Roland J. Buresh
    • International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF)
  • Paul C. Smithson
    • International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF)

DOI: 10.1023/A:1004389704235

Cite this article as:
Nziguheba, G., Palm, C.A., Buresh, R.J. et al. Plant and Soil (1998) 198: 159. doi:10.1023/A:1004389704235


The effect of organic and inorganic sources of phosphorus (P) on soil P fractions and P adsorption was studied in a field without plant growth on a Kandiudalf in western Kenya. A high-quality organic source, Tithonia diversifolia (Hemsley) A. Gray leaves, and a low-quality source, maize (Zea mays L.) stover, were applied alone or in combination with triple superphosphate (TSP). The P rate was kept constant at 15 kg P ha-1. Soil extractable P (resin, bicarbonate and sodium hydroxide), microbial biomass P and C and P adsorption isotherms were determined during 16 weeks after application of treatments. Application of tithonia either alone or with TSP increased resin P, bicarbonate P, microbial P, and sodium hydroxide inorganic P. Tithonia alone reduced P adsorption at 2–16 weeks. Maize stover had no effect on any of the P fractions or P adsorption. At 8 weeks, the application of tithonia reduced microbial C-to-P ratio (20) as compared to maize stover, TSP and the control (31–34). The reduction in P adsorption by tithonia was accompanied by increases in all measured P fractions, the sum of P in those fractions (resin, bicarbonate and sodium hydroxide) being larger than the P added. The reduction in P adsorption apparently resulted from competition for adsorption sites, probably by organic anions produced during decomposition of the high quality tithonia. Integration of inorganic P (TSP) with organic materials had little added benefit compared to sole application of TSP, except that combination of tithonia with TSP increased microbial biomass. The results indicate that a high quality organic input can be comparable to or more effective than inorganic P in increasing P availability in the soil.

maize stovermicrobial biomassphosphorus adsorptionresin Ptriple superphosphateTithonia diversifolia

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998