Organic Phosphorus Utilization in Soils

The OPUS project (Organic Phosphorus Utilization in Soils) is funded by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRClogonew) to explore cropping strategies to target the use of recalcitrant soil organic P. This consortium gathers 14 researchers from Lancaster University (Lancaster, UK), James Hutton Institute (Aberdeen and Dundee, UK) and Rothamsted Research (Devon, UK).The project hypothesis is that: cropping systems selected to express favourable root exudate properties will facilitate sustainable agricultural production through improved access to soil organic phosphorus (Po). 

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 We plan to investigate the use of plant mixtures and the ability of low molecular weight organic acid anions (LMWOAA) and phosphatases to access soil organic phosphorus.  A range of experiments are being conducted to identify potentially suitable lines of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) and will be followed by growth experiments incorporating different combinations of these plant lines to determine which combinations can most efficiently access organic forms of P, while minimising losses of P via leaching. Some of our experiments and techniques of interest include geochemical modelling, use anion exchange resins and diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT), HPLC for root exudate analysis, enzyme hydrolysis and 31P nuclear magnetic resonance analysis.


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