On the history and future of soil organic phosphorus research: a critique across three generations

Haygarth, P.M.; Harrison, A.F.; Turner, B.L.. 2018 On the history and future of soil organic phosphorus research: a critique across three generations. European Journal of Soil Science, 69 (1). 86-94.

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Soil organic phosphorus has broad agronomic and ecological significance, but remains a neglected topic of research. This opinion paper reflects a collaborative discussion between three generations of scientists who have collectively studied soil organic phosphorus for almost 50 years. We discuss personal reflections on our involvement in the field, opinions about progress and promising opportunities for future research. We debate an apparent overemphasis on analytical methodology at the expense of broader questions, and whether this has stifled progress in recent decades. We reiterate the urgent need to understand organic phosphorus cycling in the environment to address fundamental questions about phosphate supply, crop nutrition, water quality and ecosystem ecology. We also contend that we must encourage and integrate the study of organic phosphorus across all scales, from molecular chemistry to global cycling. Our discussion among three generations of researchers shows the value of a long-term perspective, emphasizes the changing nature of this field of research, and reinforces the importance of continuing to be curious about the dynamics of organic phosphorus in the environment.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 1351-0754
Additional Keywords: organic phosphorus, research, soil
NORA Subject Terms: General > History of Science
Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 09 Jan 2018 16:06 +0 (UTC)

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