Uncertainties in soil physicochemical factors controlling phosphorus mineralization and immobilization processes

Mary R. Arenberg, Yuji Arai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


It became increasingly important to regulate phosphorus (P) loss from P-rich agricultural fields because of accelerated eutrophication and hypoxia in freshwater and coastal marine systems in the world. Understanding the P stabilization mechanisms in soils, such as mineralization and immobilization, will help in adopting good agricultural management practices and implementing watershed-scale monitoring programs. This review examined the current knowledge of P mineralization and immobilization in soils and physicochemical factors that are influencing the terrestrial P cycle. It has been our common knowledge that a ratio of C:P in organic residue controls the fate of P in soils. Accepted thresholds for mineralization and immobilization are approximately 200:1 and 300:1, respectively. However, it was found that various abiotic and biotic factors influence the P mineralization and immobilization in soils. In this chapter, we reviewed P mineralization/immobilization studies that examined the impact of microbial C:P ratio, pH, labile organic and inorganic P, aeration, moisture content, types of organic C and N, microbial biomass, vegetation type, and microbial- and plant-driven phosphatase activity, and intensity of anthropogenic management. In summary, we presented uncertainties from conflicting results that require further examination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Agronomy
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages48
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Publication series

NameAdvances in Agronomy
ISSN (Print)0065-2113


  • Biogeochemistry
  • Factors
  • Immobilization
  • Mineralization
  • Phosphorus
  • Soil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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