Phytoavailability of Biosolids Phosphorus

G. A. O'Connor, D. Sarkar, S. R. Brinton, H. A. Elliott, F. G. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Efficient utilization of biosolids P for agronomic purposes requires accounting for differences in the phytoavailability of P in various biosolids. Greenhouse studies were conducted with a common pasture grass grown in two P-deficient soils amended with 12 biosolids and a commercial fertilizer (triple superphosphate, TSP) to quantify P uptake and to assess the relative phytoavailabilities of the P sources. Biosolids were grouped into three general categories of phytoavailability relative to TSP: high (>75% of TSP), moderate (25-75% of TSP), and low (<25% of TSP). Two biosolids, produced via biological phosphorus removal (BPR) processes, were in the high category, and mimicked fertilizer P with regard to P phytoavailability. Most biosolids produced by conventional wastewater and solids digestion and additional treatments like composting were in the moderate category. Also included in this category was a BPR that had been pelletized and another BPR supplemented with Al. The low category included biosolids containing greater than normal (>50 g kg-1) total Fe and Al concentrations and processed to high (>60%) solids content.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-712
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004

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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