Phosphorus in agriculture: a review of results from 175 years research at Rothamsted, UK

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Poulton, P. R. and Johnston, A. E. 2019. Phosphorus in agriculture: a review of results from 175 years research at Rothamsted, UK. Journal of Environmental Quality. 48 (5), pp. 1133-1144.

AuthorsPoulton, P. R. and Johnston, A. E.

Insight into the role of phosphorus (P) in soil fertility and crop nutrition has come from long-term field experiments initially started by J.B. Lawes at Rothamsted in 1843 and continued by others together with experiments on different soils. From the 1940s, results have refuted a widely held view that P residues were irreversibly fixed in soil. Rather, such residues build-up a reserve of plant-available P (Olsen P), and there is a strong relationship between crop yield and Olsen P. The critical level of Olsen P, determined from this relationship, is the level at which soils should be maintained to optimise P-use efficiency, which, for applied P, is high when the amount applied nearly equals offtake by the crop. This reserve of inorganic P is associated with a variety of soil components and held with a range of bonding energies, such that when no P is applied the decline in Olsen P follows a smooth curve. Based on the accumulated information, inorganic P in soil can be conceptualised as being in four pools of vastly varying size, availability for uptake and extractability by reagents used in routine soil analysis, and with reversible transfer of P between the pools.

KeywordsP research; long-term experiments; Olsen P; crop response
Year of Publication2019
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Journal citation48 (5), pp. 1133-1144
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeThe Rothamsted Long Term Experiments [2017-2022]
Publisher's version
Copyright license
Accepted author manuscript
Copyright license
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online01 Aug 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted21 Jun 2019
PublisherAmerican Society of Agronomy (ASA)

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