Substantial dust loss of bioavailable phosphorus from agricultural soils

Itzhak Katra, Avner Gross, Nitzan Swet, Smadar Tanner, Helena Krasnov, Alon Angert

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51 Scopus citations


Phosphorus (P) is an essential element in terrestrial ecosystems. Knowledge on the role of dust in the biogeochemical cycling of phosphorus is very limited with no quantitative information on aeolian (by wind) P fluxes from soils. The aim of this study is to focus on P cycling via dust emissions under common land-use practices in an arid environment by integration of sample analyses and aeolian experiments. The experiments indicate significant P fluxes by PM10 dust due to agricultural land use. Even in a single wind-dust event at moderate velocity (7.0 m s-1), P flux in conventional agricultural fields can reach 1.83 kg km-2, that accumulates to a considerable amount per year at a regional scale. The results highlight a negative yearly balance in P content (up to hundreds kg km-2) in all agricultural soils, and thus more P nutrition is required to maintain efficient yield production. In grazing areas where no P nutrition is applied, the soil degradation process can lead to desertification. Emission of P from soil dust sources has significant implications for soil nutrient resources and management strategies in agricultural regions as well as for loading to the atmosphere and global biogeochemical cycles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24736
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - 20 Apr 2016

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