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Early effects of surface liming on soil P biochemistry and dynamics in extensive grassland

Abstract

Liming effects on soil phosphorus (P) availability via biological P cycling are not clear. We conducted an 18-month field experiment on a long-term (60 years +) permanent fertilized grassland in a relatively dry environment. The aim was to examine the impact of liming on P biochemical processes and dynamics. Lime was applied at the beginning of the experiment to produce a soil pH range of 5.4–7.0, with no fertilizer P treatments. Soil sampling was conducted throughout the experimentation period at 0–75 mm. All soils were analysed for moisture content, pH, Olsen P, resin P, exchangeable aluminium (Al), microbial biomass P (MBP) and enzyme activities. At the final sampling, the soil samples were analysed for total C, total N and anaerobic mineralizable N (AMN). A sequential P fractionation was conducted for 0–30 mm depth samples. Liming effects on soil pH and P processes were limited to the surface 30 mm only, where labile inorganic P (Pi) fraction increased by 42% at pH 7.0 compared to pH 5.4, while labile and moderately labile organic P (Po) decreased by 33% and 25%, respectively. Strong positive relationships were found between microbial P and: soil pH, labile Pi, total C and AMN. Absolute activities of acid and alkaline phosphomonoesterases were not affected by liming. However, their specific activity decreased by 47% and 28%, respectively at pH 7.0 compared to pH 5.4. Absolute enzyme activity of phosphodiesterase correlated strongly and positively with labile Pi. Our findings demonstrate that liming enhances plant P availability under field conditions in long-term fertilized extensive grassland. However, the effects are limited to near-surface depths in the soil.

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All the data collected in this study is available in Excel files.

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Acknowledgements

This project was funded by Mohammed 6 Polytechnic University (UM6P, Morocco) and Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP, Morocco) under a collaborative research program with Lincoln University (Lincoln, New Zealand) (contract LU 46500).

Funding

This study was funded by Mohammed 6 Polytechnic University (UM6P, Morocco) and Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP, Morocco).

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M.B., J.M., L.C. and P.D. contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection, and analysis were performed by M.B. The first draft of the manuscript was written by M.B. and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Moussa Bouray.

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Bouray, M., Moir, J.L., Condron, L.M. et al. Early effects of surface liming on soil P biochemistry and dynamics in extensive grassland. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10705-021-10163-4

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Keywords

  • Soil depth
  • Phosphorus availability
  • Specific enzyme activity
  • Soil pH
  • Microbial biomass phosphorus
  • Phosphorus fractionation