Plant and Soil

, Volume 269, Issue 1–2, pp 25–34 | Cite as

Mobility, solubility and lability of fluid and granular forms of P fertiliser in calcareous and non-calcareous soils under laboratory conditions

  • E. Lombi
  • M. J. McLaughlin
  • C. Johnston
  • R. D. Armstrong
  • R. E. Holloway


Despite a long history of application of phosphorus fertilisers, P deficiency is still a major limitation to crop production on calcareous soils. Recent field research conducted in highly calcareous soils in southern Australia has demonstrated that both grain yield and P uptake of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is greater when fluid forms of P are used compared to granular forms. To improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying this response to P in the field, we compared the lability, solubility and mobility of P applied as either a fluid (3 products) or granular (3 products) form to two calcareous and one alkaline non-calcareous soils in the laboratory. Over a five-week period, between 9.5 and 18 % of the P initially present in the fertiliser granules did not diffuse into the surrounding soil. The degree of granule dissolution was independent of the soil type. In contrast, P solubility, lability and diffusion were significantly greater when fluid products were applied to the calcareous soils, but not to the alkaline non-calcareous soil. These findings are discussed in relation to field trials results where fluid products outperformed granular fertilisers.


phosphorus fluid and granular fertiliser alkaline and calcareous soil 



triple superphosphate


mono and diammonium phosphate


technical grade monoammonium phosphate


ammonium polyphosphate


phosphoric acid


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Lombi
    • 1
  • M. J. McLaughlin
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Johnston
    • 1
  • R. D. Armstrong
    • 3
  • R. E. Holloway
    • 4
  1. 1.CSIRO Land and WaterGlen OsmondAustralia
  2. 2.School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of AdelaideGlen OsmondAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Primary IndustriesHorshamAustralia
  4. 4.South Australian Research and Development InstituteMinnipa Agricultural CentreMinnipaAustralia

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