Development of pedotransfer functions to quantify phosphorus saturation of agricultural soils

Peter J.A. Kleinman, R. B. Bryant, W. S. Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Soil P saturation affects the risk of P loss to surface and ground water and is therefore a critical environmental indicator in regions where eutrophication is a concern. In the USA, most soil testing laboratories do not include environmental indicators such as soil P saturation as standard soil test options. Development of pedotransfer functions that relate soil test data to soil P saturation, however, would enable soil testing laboratories to estimate soil P saturation as part of soil test results without significant additional expenditures. This study examines associations between readily-available soil test data (pH, soil organic matter, and extractable P, Al, Fe, and Ca) and soil P saturation as estimated by acid ammonium oxalate extraction. Fifty-nine soil samples were collected from the Delaware River Watershed in New York State (42°21′N, 74°52′W) and subjected to standard soil test analyses as well as to acid ammonium oxalate extraction. Some soil test variables were well correlated with soil P saturation. As a single predictor, soil test P was most highly correlated to soil P saturation (r = 0.88). This association supports the use of soil test P as an environmental indicator. Soil test Al also was well correlated with soil P saturation following logarithmic transformation (r = 0.73). Multivariate pedotransfer functions containing soil test P, Al, Fe, soil organic matter, and pH did not significantly improve estimation of soil P saturation (R = 0.91) above soil test P alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2026-2030
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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