Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 84, Issue 2, pp 167–178 | Cite as

Dissolution of phosphorus from animal bone char in 12 soils

  • G. P. WarrenEmail author
  • J. S. Robinson
  • E. Someus


Heat-treated animal bone char (ABC) has not previously been evaluated for its potential as a phosphorus (P) fertilizer. ABC, Gafsa phosphate rock (GPR) and triple superphosphate fertilizer (TSP) were incubated in 12 soils. Dissolved-P was assessed by extraction with NaOH and bioavailability with the Olsen extractant. The rate of P dissolution from ABC was described almost equally well by the Elovich and Power equations. After 145 days, the fraction of P dissolved ranged from 0 to 73% and to 56% for ABC and GPR, respectively. The most important soil properties determining P dissolution from ABC were pH and P sorption. P dissolution was not significant at soil pH >6.1 (ABC) and >5 (GPR) and the lower the pH, the greater the Dissolved-P. Dissolved-P also correlated positively and significantly with inorganic P sorption, measured by the Freundlich isotherm and the P sorption index of Bache and Williams (1971). Soil pH and P sorption index could be combined in multiple regression equations that use readily measured soil properties to predict the potential for ABC dissolution in a soil. Dissolution of P from GPR correlated with soil pH and exchangeable acidity. In comparison with GPR, ABC was a better source of available P, assessed by Olsen-P. In most soils, ABC increased Olsen-P immediately after application, including soils of relatively high pH in which GPR was ineffective. ABC is a P fertilizer of solubility intermediate between GPR and TSP.


Available P Biochar Fertilizer Phosphorus Phosphate rock 



This work was financially supported by the European Union, Framework VI (Contract no. FOOD-CT-2005-514082). We thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Soil ScienceThe University of ReadingReadingUK
  2. 2.Terra Humana LtdBudapestHungary

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