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Innovative solutions to sustainable Soil Phosphorus management (InnoSoilPhos)

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Mineral P-fertilizers are on the one side essential for nutrition of agricultural plants but on the other hand can also cause eutrophication of water bodies. Mineral-P-fertilizers are mainly produced by the limited P-resource rock phosphate. Due to these limitations of P agriculture is facing a huge challenge, namely to ensure the nutrition of humans and the income of farmers as well as limiting the ecological footprint, which is challenging the society as a whole. Therefore, the project InnoSoilPhos wants to answer not only scientific but also questions of social and humanistic science and is working in 10 working groups at four different scales:

  1. the atomic and molecular scale,
  2. the plot- to field scale,
  3. the field-to catchment scale, and
  4. the societal scale.

Beside the University of Rostock (UR) the following institutions are involved:

  • the Brandenburgische Technical University Cottbus - Senftenberg (BTU),
  • the Julius-Kühn-Institute (JKI),
  • the University of Munich (TUM),
  • the Research Center Jülich (FZJ), and
  • the Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy in Leipzig (FNK).

Prof. Peter Leinweber (University of Rostock)

The objectives of the Jülich partner are to identify the subsoil P status and speciation for the main soil types across Germany according to the Bodenkundliche Kartieranleitung. Different forms of aged P in soil (organically, inorganically bound, fixed to minerals, enclosed in aggregates) will be analyzed and related to the P uptake and use efficiency of plants. This information is then used to develop a reliable and robust soil test for the P acquisition by plants from soil and soil amendments on the basis of the diffuse gradient in thin films (DGT) method as calibrated via 33P isotope measurements.
This will be done by assessing the P bioavailability of the subsoil and its potential role for plant nutrition for nine long-term experimental sites. For this, the speciation of inorganic P (Pi) and organic P (Po) will be assessed using both well-established wet chemical extraction procedures and more sophisticated approaches like liquid 31P Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and X-ray Adsorption Near Edge Structure (XANES) spectroscopy. This subsoil data will then be compared to results obtained for the topsoil and correlated to parameters from the long-term experimental sites studying various treatments.
For selected sites 33P studies will be combined with analyses of root magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of root morphology to access the P accessibility and use efficiency and actual P acquisition strategies from the subsoil by plant roots at the soil profile scale. The results will be correlated to data of the long-term experimental sites in order to determine P bioaccessibility and use efficiency at the meso- and macroscale. Based on the results obtained for P bioavailability and P bioaccessibility a precise soil testing method will be developed for the subsoil to determine the plant available P fraction on the basis of the DGT-technology.

Principal Investigator Jülich Partner
Dr. Nina Siebers
Tel. +49 2461 61 96614

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