Skip to main content
Phosphorus Sorption Capacity of Six Iowa Soils before and after Five Years of Use as Vegetative Treatment Areas
Applied Engineering in Agriculture
  • Daniel S. Andersen, Iowa State University
  • Matthew J. Helmers, Iowa State University
  • Robert T. Burns, University of Tennessee–Knoxville
Document Type
Publication Version
Published Version
Publication Date
Accumulation of phosphorus in soil is a major factor limiting the operational life (period of time where the soil can serve as an effective phosphorus sink) of land application waste disposal systems. Better evaluation of phosphorus operational life requires improved understanding of how manure application to soil can affect its phosphorus sorption characteristics. In this study, laboratory experiments were conducted to investigate the impact of feedlot runoff effluent application on phosphorus sorption capacities, equilibrium phosphorus concentrations, and phosphorus buffering capacities of six Iowa soils. Soil samples were collected from vegetative treatment areas that had received feedlot runoff application for the previous five years and from a paired grassed area that did not. Subsamples of each soil were incubated with a series of 12 phosphorus solutions ranging in concentration from 0 to 200 mg P/L to determine the sorption characteristics and results fitted to the Langmuir model to determine the phosphorus equilibrium concentration, phosphorus buffering capacity, and maximum phosphorus sorption capacity. Results indicated that vegetative treatment areas generally had elevated phosphorus equilibrium concentrations, indicating an elevated risk of loss of dissolved phosphorus. In most cases, the ability of the soil to sorb phosphorus was significantly increased, as was the remaining phosphorus sorption capacity of the soil. These results indicate that vegetative treatment area life could be greatly extended due to soil property modifications that occur as a result of system operation.

This article is from Applied Engineering in Agriculture 31 (2015): 611–620, doi:10.13031/aea.31.11128. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner
American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
File Format
Citation Information
Daniel S. Andersen, Matthew J. Helmers and Robert T. Burns. "Phosphorus Sorption Capacity of Six Iowa Soils before and after Five Years of Use as Vegetative Treatment Areas" Applied Engineering in Agriculture Vol. 31 Iss. 4 (2015) p. 611 - 620
Available at: