Effect of methodology in estimating and interpreting water-extractable phosphorus in animal manures

P. A. Vadas, P. J.A. Kleinman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Manure water-extractable phosphorus (WEP) data are used in indices and models to assess P transport in runoff. Methods to measure WEP vary widely, often without understanding the effect on how much P is extracted. We conducted water extractions on five dairy; swine, and poultry manures to assess single and sequential extractions, drying manures, solution to solid (cm3 g-1) extraction ratios, and P determination method. We found little difference in WEP of single or sequential extractions. Increasing extraction ratio from 10:1 to 250:1 resulted in more WEP recovered, but in a diminishing fashion so that ratios of 200:1 and 250:1 were not significantly different. Patterns of increased WEP with extraction ratio varied with manure type, presence of bedding material, and drying treatment. Fresh and air-dried manures had similar patterns, but differed substantially from oven-dried (90°C) manures. The differential effect of oven-drying on WEP was greatest for dairy and poultry manure, and less for swine manure. We analyzed water extracts colorimetrically before and after digestion, to examine the potential effect of P determination by inductively coupled plasma (ICP) spectroscopy. Digested extracts always contained more P. For manures with bedding, drying decreased the difference in P measured before and after digestion. The opposite was true for manures without bedding. Results highlight the influence of methodology on manure WEP measurement and caution needed when comparing data across studies using different WEP methods. Overall, our results point to a need for a standard manure water extraction method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1151-1159
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2006

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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