Influence of Microorganisms on Phosphorus Bioavailability in Soils

  • Annette Deubel
  • Wolfgang Merbach
Part of the Soil Biology book series (SOILBIOL, volume 3)

6 Conclusions

Soil microorganisms, particularly the rhizosphere flora of higher plants, remarkably affect the phosphorus bioavailability in soils. Microbially derived carboxylic acids mobilize calcium phosphates as well as iron- and aluminum-bound phosphorus. Microbial mineralization of organic matter is essential for nutrient cycling in soils and phosphatases enhance the use of organic P compounds by higher plants. Plants, especially in nutrient-poor habitats like forest ecosystems, often depend on symbiotic relations with microorganisms like mycorrhizal fungi. However, rhizosphere flora also decomposes P-mobilizing substances derived from plant roots. Microorganisms can be powerful competitors for growth-limiting nutrients like P, but microbial turnover can also make P available for higher plants. The difficulty in quantifying all these complex and partially contrary processes is a substantial weak point in mathematical P-utilization models as well as in the use of P-mobilizing microbes as biofertilizers. The investigation of these complex effects with modern methods, which cover also the large majority of noncultivable microorganisms, is an important aim for further research.


Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Mycorrhizal Fungus Calcium Phosphate Plant Soil Proton Release 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annette Deubel
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Merbach
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Soil Science and Plant NutritionMartin-Luther University Halle-WittenbergHalleGermany

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