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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2018-519
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2018-519
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 15 Jan 2019

Research article | 15 Jan 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

A novel isotope pool dilution approach to quantify gross rates of key abiotic and biological processes in the soil phosphorus cycle

Wolfgang Wanek, David Zezula, Daniel Wasner, Maria Mooshammer, and Judith Prommer Wolfgang Wanek et al.
  • Division of Terrestrial Ecosystem Research, Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science, Research Network "Chemistry meets Microbiology", University of Vienna, Althanstraße 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria

Abstract. Efforts to understand and model the current and future behavior of the global phosphorus (P) cycle are limited by the availability of global data on gross rates of soil P processes, as well as its environmental controls. We here present a novel isotope pool dilution approach using 33P labelling of live and sterile soils, which allows to obtain high quality data on gross fluxes of soil inorganic P (Pi) sorption and desorption, as well as of gross fluxes of organic P mineralization and microbial Pi uptake. At the same time, net immobilization of 33Pi by soil microbes and abiotic sorption can be easily derived and partitioned. Compared to other approaches, we used short incubation times (up to 48 h), avoiding tracer re-mineralization, which was confirmed by separation of organic P and Pi using isobutanol fractionation. This approach is also suitable for strongly weathered and P impoverished soils, as sensitivity is increased by extraction of exchangeable bio-available Pi (Olsen Pi; 0.5 M NaHCO3) followed by Pi measurement using the malachite green assay. Biotic processes were corrected for desorption/sorption processes by using adequate sterile abiotic controls that exhibited negligible microbial and extracellular phosphatase activities. Gross rates are calculated using analytical solutions of tracer kinetics, which also allows to study gross soil P dynamics under non-steady-state conditions. Finally, we present major environmental controls of gross and net P cycle processes that were measured for three P-poor tropical forest and three P-rich temperate grassland soils.

Wolfgang Wanek et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
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Wolfgang Wanek et al.
Wolfgang Wanek et al.
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Latest update: 18 Apr 2019
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Short summary
Efforts to understand the global phosphorus (P) cycle are limited by the scarcity of global data on rates of soil P processes, as well as of its environmental controls. We here present a novel approach using radiophosphorus labelling of soils, which allows to measure fluxes of abiotic and biotic soil P processes. This approach is also suitable for strongly weathered and P depleted soils. Biotic processes are corrected for abiotic ones by comparing life and sterile soils.
Efforts to understand the global phosphorus (P) cycle are limited by the scarcity of global data...
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