Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 23, pp 23406–23414 | Cite as

Research and application of method of oxygen isotope of inorganic phosphate in Beijing agricultural soils

  • Liyan Tian
  • Qingjun GuoEmail author
  • Yongguan Zhu
  • Huijun He
  • Yunchao Lang
  • Jian Hu
  • Han Zhang
  • Rongfei Wei
  • Xiaokun Han
  • Marc Peters
  • Junxing Yang
Research Article


Phosphorus (P) in agricultural ecosystems is an essential and limited element for plants and microorganisms. However, environmental problems caused by P accumulation as well as by P loss have become more and more serious. Oxygen isotopes of phosphate can trace the sources, migration, and transformation of P in agricultural soils. In order to use the isotopes of phosphate oxygen, appropriate extraction and purification methods for inorganic phosphate from soils are necessary. Here, we combined two different methods to analyze the oxygen isotopic composition of inorganic phosphate (δ18OP) from chemical fertilizers and different fractions (Milli-Q water, 0.5 mol L−1 NaHCO3 (pH = 8.5), 0.1 mol L−1 NaOH and 1 mol L−1 HCl) of agricultural soils from the Beijing area. The δ18OP results of the water extracts and NaHCO3 extracts in most samples were close to the calculated equilibrium value. These phenomena can be explained by rapid P cycling in soils and the influence of chemical fertilizers. The δ18OP value of the water extracts and NaHCO3 extracts in some soil samples below the equilibrium value may be caused by the hydrolysis of organic P fractions mediated by extracellular enzymes. The δ18OP values of the NaOH extracts were above the calculated equilibrium value reflecting the balance state between microbial uptake of phosphate and the release of intracellular phosphate back to the soil. The HCl extracts with the lowest δ18OP values and highest phosphate concentrations indicated that the HCl fraction was affected by microbial activity. Hence, these δ18Op values likely reflected the oxygen isotopic values of the parent materials. The results suggested that phosphate oxygen isotope analyses could be an effective tool in order to trace phosphate sources, transformation processes, and its utilization by microorganisms in agricultural soils.


Oxygen isotope Inorganic phosphate Agricultural soil Different phosphate fractions Beijing 



We thank Wenjun Huang instrumental support of the XRD spectrum analysis at the Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Wang Xu instruction in the process of experiment at Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. This work was financially supported by Project of Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. XDB15020401).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liyan Tian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qingjun Guo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yongguan Zhu
    • 3
  • Huijun He
    • 4
  • Yunchao Lang
    • 5
  • Jian Hu
    • 6
  • Han Zhang
    • 3
  • Rongfei Wei
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaokun Han
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marc Peters
    • 1
  • Junxing Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Environmental Remediation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXiamenChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Marine Chemistry Theory and Technology, Ministry of Education, Ocean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  5. 5.Institute of Surface-Earth System ScienceTianjin UniversityTianjinChina
  6. 6.State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuiyangChina

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