Phosphorus in the soil microbial biomass

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Brookes, P. C., Powlson, D. S. and Jenkinson, D. S. 1984. Phosphorus in the soil microbial biomass. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 16 (2), pp. 169-175.

AuthorsBrookes, P. C., Powlson, D. S. and Jenkinson, D. S.

Phosphorus in the soil microbial biomass (biomass P) and soil biomass carbon (biomass C) were linearly related in 15 soils (8 grassland, 6 arable, 1 deciduous woodland), with a mean P concentration of 3.3% in the soil biomass. The regression accounted for 82% of the variance in the data. The relationship was less close than that previously measured between soil biomass C and soil ATP content and indicates that biomass P measurements can only provide a rough estimate of biomass C content. Neither P concentration in the soil biomass, nor the amount of biomass P in soil, were correlated with soil NaHCO3-extractable inorganic, organic or total P.

The calculated mean annual flux of P through the biomass (in a soil depth of 10 cm) in 8 grassland soils was large, 23 kg P ha−1 yr−1, and more than three times the mean annual P flux through 6 arable soils (7 kg P ha−1 yr−1), suggesting that biomass P could make a significant contribution to plant P nutrition in grassland.

About 3% of the total soil organic P in the arable soils was in microbial biomass and from 5 to 24% in the grassland soils. The decline in biomass P when an old grassland soil was put into an arable rotation for about 20 yr was sufficient to account for about 50% of the decline in total soil organic P during this period. When an old arable soil reverted to woodland, soil organic P doubled in 100 yr; biomass P increased 11-fold during the same period.

Year of Publication1984
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Journal citation16 (2), pp. 169-175
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Output statusPublished
Publication process dates
Accepted10 Sep 1983
Copyright licensePublisher copyright

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