Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 115, Issue 1, pp 1–39 | Cite as

Agronomic performance of P recycling fertilizers and methods to predict it: a review

  • Sylvia KratzEmail author
  • Christian Vogel
  • Christian Adam
Review Article


Phosphorus (P) is an essential element for all life forms, and P-availability thus an important driver of a functioning agriculture. However, phosphate rock resources for P-fertilizer production are only available in a few countries. Therefore, P-recovery from waste materials has become of increasing interest during the last decade and has been investigated worldwide. In order to characterize potential novel P-fertilizers made from recycled materials, a large array of P-compound characterizations, chemical extractions and growth experiments were performed. This review bundles the work carried out in that field over the last years. Overall, P-fertilizers from recycled materials show a broad range of P-compounds with very different chemical structure and solubility. Growth experiments performed to assess their fertilizing effects display high variations for most of the products. While these experiments have demonstrated that some fertilizers made of recycled materials may reach P effects in the same order of magnitude as water-soluble phosphate rock-based fertilizers, an important limitation in their interpretation is the fact that they often vary considerably in their experimental design. The existing data show clearly that standardization of growth experiments is urgently needed to achieve comparable results. Standard chemical extractants used to assess the chemical solubility of P-fertilizers were found to be of limited reliability for predicting plant P uptake. Therefore, alternative methods such as sequential fractionation, or the extraction of incubated soil/fertilizer mixtures with standard soil extractants or with P sink methods should be tested more intensively in the future to provide alternative options to predict the P-availability of fertilizers from recycled materials.


Recycling fertilizer Phosphorus Chemical extraction methods Agronomic performance Incubated soil/fertilizer mixtures P sink method Diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT) 



We thank Doreen Büttner (BAM) for the chemical extraction tests of the pure P compounds. Christian Vogel thanks the German Research Foundation (VO 1794/4-1) for financial support.

Supplementary material

10705_2019_10010_MOESM1_ESM.docx (62 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 61 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Crop and Soil ScienceJulius Kühn Institute (JKI) – Federal Research Centre for Cultivated PlantsBrunswickGermany
  2. 2.Division 4.4 Thermochemical Residues Treatment and Resource RecoveryBundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM)BerlinGermany

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