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  • 1 Development and Consultancy Directorate, KITE Co., Nádudvar
  • | 2 Institute of Sectoral Economics and Methodology
  • | 3 University of Debrecen, Hungary
  • | 4 University of Debrecen, Hungary
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The traditional Hungarian method for determining soil phosphorus (P) status is ammonium-lactate acetic acid (AL) extraction. AL is an acidic solution (buffered at pH 3.75), which is also able to dissolve P reserves, so there is a need for extraction methods that also characterize the mobile P pool.

0.01 M CaCl2-P is considered to directly describe available P forms, because the dilute salt solution has more or less the same ionic strength as the average salt concentration in many soil solutions.

The amount of AL-P may be two orders of magnitude greater than that of CaCl2-P. Previous studies suggested that the relationship between AL-P and CaCl2-P was influenced by soil parameters. Regression analysis between AL-P and CaCl2-P showed medium or strong correlations when using soils with homogeneous soil properties, while there was a weak correlation between them for soils with heterogeneous properties.

The objective of this study was to increase the accuracy of the conversion between AL-P and CaCl2-P, by constructing universal equations that also take soil properties into consideration.

The AL-P and CaCl2-P contents were measured in arable soils (n=622) originating from the Hungarian Soil Information and Monitoring System (SIMS). These soils covered a wide range of soil properties.

A weak correlation was found between AL-P and CaCl2-P in SIMS soils. The amounts and ratio of AL-P and CaCl2-P depended on soil properties such as CaCO3 content and texture. The ratio of AL-P to CaCl2-P changed from 37 in noncalcareous soils to 141 on highly calcareous soils. CaCl2-P decreased as a function of KA (plasticity index according to Arany), which is related to the clay content, while the highest AL-P content was found on loam soils, probably due to the fact that a high proportion of them were calcareous.

The relationships between AL-P, CaCl2-P and soil properties in the SIMS dataset were evaluated using multiple linear regression analysis. In order to select the best model the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) was used to compare different models. The soil factors included in the models were pHKCl, humus and CaCO3 content to describe AL-P, and KA, CaCO3 content and pHKCl to describe CaCl2-P. AL-P was directly proportional to pHKCl, humus and CaCO3 content, while CaCl2-P was inversely proportional to KA, CaCO3 content and pHKCl. The explanatory power of the models increased when soil properties were included. The percentage of the explained variance in the AL-P and CaCl2-P regression models was 56 and 51%, so the accuracy of the conversion between the two extraction methods was still not satisfactory and it does not seem to be possible to prepare a universally applicable equation. Further research is needed to obtain different regression equations for soils with different soil properties, and CaCl2-P should also be calibrated in long-term P fertilization trials.

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