Organic phosphorus in the terrestrial environment: a perspective on the state of the art and future priorities

T. S. George, C. D. Giles, D. Menezes-Blackburn, L. M. Condron, A. C. Gama-Rodrigues, D. Jaisi, F. Lang, A. L. Neal, M. I. Stutter, D. S. Almeida, R. Bol, K. G. Cabugao, L. Celi, J. B. Cotner, G. Feng, D. S. Goll, M. Hallama, J. Krueger, C. Plassard, A. RoslingT. Darch, T. Fraser, R. Giesler, A. E. Richardson, F. Tamburini, C. A. Shand, D. G. Lumsdon, H. Zhang, M. S.A. Blackwell, C. Wearing, M. M. Mezeli, R. Almås, Y. Audette, I. Bertrand, E. Beyhaut, G. Boitt, N. Bradshaw, C. A. Brearley, T. W. Bruulsema, P. Ciais, V. Cozzolino, P. C. Duran, M. L. Mora, A. B. de Menezes, R. J. Dodd, K. Dunfield, C. Engl, J. J. Frazão, G. Garland, J. L. González Jiménez, J. Graca, S. J. Granger, A. F. Harrison, C. Heuck, E. Q. Hou, P. J. Johnes, K. Kaiser, H. A. Kjær, E. Klumpp, A. L. Lamb, K. A. Macintosh, E. B. Mackay, J. McGrath, C. McIntyre, T. McLaren, E. Mészáros, A. Missong, M. Mooshammer, C. P. Negrón, L. A. Nelson, V. Pfahler, P. Poblete-Grant, M. Randall, A. Seguel, K. Seth, A. C. Smith, M. M. Smits, J. A. Sobarzo, M. Spohn, K. Tawaraya, M. Tibbett, P. Voroney, H. Wallander, L. Wang, J. Wasaki, P. M. Haygarth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Background: The dynamics of phosphorus (P) in the environment is important for regulating nutrient cycles in natural and managed ecosystems and an integral part in assessing biological resilience against environmental change. Organic P (Po) compounds play key roles in biological and ecosystems function in the terrestrial environment being critical to cell function, growth and reproduction. Scope: We asked a group of experts to consider the global issues associated with Po in the terrestrial environment, methodological strengths and weaknesses, benefits to be gained from understanding the Po cycle, and to set priorities for Po research. Conclusions: We identified seven key opportunities for Po research including: the need for integrated, quality controlled and functionally based methodologies; assessment of stoichiometry with other elements in organic matter; understanding the dynamics of Po in natural and managed systems; the role of microorganisms in controlling Po cycles; the implications of nanoparticles in the environment and the need for better modelling and communication of the research. Each priority is discussed and a statement of intent for the Po research community is made that highlights there are key contributions to be made toward understanding biogeochemical cycles, dynamics and function of natural ecosystems and the management of agricultural systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-208
Number of pages18
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This work was performed with the financial support of the Organic Phosphorus Utilisation in Soils (OPUS) project, funded by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC – BBSRC - BB/K018167/1) in the UK and the Rural & Environment Science & Analytical Services Division of the Scottish Government. Fraser and Tibbett acknowledge the support of BBSRC SARISA programme BB/L025671/2. We also acknowledge the contribution to the output of the OP2016 workshop of all the attendees of the meeting who chose not be named as an author on this paper. In particular, the authors would like to thank Barbara Cade-Menun and Ben Turner and acknowledge there contribution to drafts of this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer International Publishing AG.


  • Ecosystems services
  • Method development
  • Microbiome
  • Modelling
  • Organic phosphorus
  • Stoichiometry


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