Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 277–288 | Cite as

Inhibition of phosphorus sorption to goethite, gibbsite, and kaolin by fresh and decomposed organic matter

  • James F. Hunt
  • Tsutomu Ohno
  • Zhongqi He
  • C. Wayne Honeycutt
  • D. Bryan Dail
Original Paper


The direct effects of dissolved organic matter (DOM) on the sorption of orthophosphate onto gibbsite, goethite, and kaolin were examined using a one-point phosphorus sorption index and the linear Tempkin isotherm model. DOM extracted from fresh and decomposed agricultural residues, as well as model organic and humic acids, were used. Changes in the chemical and sorptive characteristics of the DOM in the absence and presence of added orthophosphate (50 mg l−1) were also determined. For residue-derived materials, DOM sorption to all minerals correlated well with percent hydrophobicity, apparent molecular weight, and phenolic acidity in the absence of added orthophosphate. Sorption of DOM to goethite and gibbsite was significantly decreased in the presence of added P. The correlation coefficient values of percent hydrophobicity, apparent molecular weight, and phenolic acidity to sorption also declined in the presence of added P. Thus, the addition of P substantially lowered fractionation of DOM after sorption to goethite and gibbsite. In contrast, few significant P sorption-induced differences were observed in the kaolin system. According to one-point P sorption results, DOM in the form of Aldrich humic acid, oxalate, and decomposed clover and corn residue, significantly inhibited P sorption to goethite at concentrations of 50 and 200 mg total soluble carbon (CTS l−1). Phosphorus sorption to gibbsite was significantly inhibited by 50 mg CTS l−1 derived from decomposed corn residue, fresh dairy manure residue, and oxalate solution. At 200 mg CTS l−1, all DOM solutions were found to inhibit P sorption to gibbsite. This study suggests that DOM inhibition of P sorption depends on the chemical properties of both the sorbent and the DOM itself. In general, DOM from decomposed organic materials inhibited P sorption to a greater extent than did DOM derived from fresh materials. This stronger inhibition highlights the importance of microbial processes in the release of soluble soil P, a key determinant of P availability to plants.


Dissolved organic matter Phosphorus Decomposition Metal oxides Sorption 



This project was supported by the National Research Initiative Competitive grant no. 2003-35107-13628 from the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. This study has also been supported by Hatch funds provided by the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station. This is Maine Agricultural and Forest Experimental Station Journal publication no. 2944.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • James F. Hunt
    • 1
  • Tsutomu Ohno
    • 1
  • Zhongqi He
    • 2
  • C. Wayne Honeycutt
    • 2
  • D. Bryan Dail
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant, Soil, and Environmental SciencesUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  2. 2.New England Plant, Soil, and Water LaboratoryUSDA-ARSOronoUSA

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