Mobilization of phosphate in different soils by ryegrass supplied with ammonium or nitrate
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Mobilization of soil P as the result of plant-induced changes of soil pH in the vicinity of plant roots was studied. Seedlings of ryegrass were grown in small containers separating roots from soil by a 30-μm meshed nylon screen which root hairs could penetrate but not roots. Two soils were used, a luvisol containing P mainly bound to calcium and an oxisol containing P mainly bound (adsorbed) to iron and aluminum. Plant-induced changes of soil pH were brought about by application of ammonium-or nitrate-nitrogen. After plants had grown for 10 d the soil was sliced in thin layers parallel to the root mat which had developed on the screen, and both soil pH and residual P determined. Mobilization of P was assessed by P-depletion profiles of the rhizosphere soil.
Soil pH at the root surface decreased by up to 1.6 units as the result of ammonium N nutrition and it increased by up to 0.6 units as the result of nitrate N nutrition. These changes extended to a distance between 1 and 4 mm from the root surface depending on the type of soil and the source and level of nitrogen applied. In the luvisol, compared to zero-N treatment, P mobilization increased with the NH4-induced decrease in pH, whereas the NO3-induced pH increase had no effect. In contrast, in the oxisol a similar pH decrease caused by NH4 nutrition had no effect, whereas the pH increase caused by NO3 increased markedly the mobilization of soil P. It is concluded that in the luvisol calcium phosphates were dissolved by acidification, whereas in the oxisol adsorbed phosphate was mobilized by ligand exchange.
Key wordsammonium Ca-phosphate Fe/Al-phosphate nitrate P mobilization rhizosphere pH ryegrass
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