Effect of coal combustion products in reducing soluble phosphorus in soil II. leaching study

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Seshadri, B, Bolan, NS, Kunhikrishnan, A, Choppala, G & Naidu, R 2013, 'Effect of coal combustion products in reducing soluble phosphorus in soil II. leaching study', Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, vol. 225, art. 1777.

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Phosphorus (P) management in agriculture is crucial for both environmental health and future availability of P resource. Application of P as fertilisers (organic or inorganic) often results in either P accumulation in soil or loss to water bodies, rendering them unavailable to crops. In this study, the mobility of inorganic (KH2PO4 (PP)) and organic (poultry manure (PM)) P sources, as affected by coal combustion products (CCPs: fly ash (FA) and fluidised bed combustion ash (FBC)) application to soils, was evaluated using column leaching experiments. The incubated samples were also characterised using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to understand their surface properties in relation to P adsorption and leaching. The results showed differential effects of CCPs to P treatments—in the case of PP, the CCPs decreased P leaching by 12.11 % (FA) and 20.56 % (FBC), whereas in the case of PM treatment, both CCPs increased P in leachates by 35.53 % (FA) and 18.44 % (FBC). The decrease in P leaching for PP-treated soil as affected by CCPs was attributed to high pH and Ca concentration. There was a negative relationship between the increase in CCP-induced pH and P leaching demonstrating that pH plays a crucial role in P immobilisation, transformation and leaching. The increase in P leaching for CCP-incubated–PM-treated soils was because of the mineralisation of organic P from PM. The surface chemistry from XRD and SEM results showed an increased surface area for CCPs-incubated soil compared to the control and also showed the presence of Ca-rich minerals in CCPs such as ettringite, wollastonite and merwinite.

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