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Organic phosphorus (P) can comprise a significant amount of the total P in animal wastes, yet there is little information on the potential for organic P to be transferred from soils to watercourses. We examined the adsorption of organic P compounds to soils typical of the southeastern United States, i.e., Blanton Sand (loamy, siliceous, thermic, Grossarenic Paleudult), Cecil sandy clay loam (fine, kaolinitic, thermic, Typic Kanhapludult), and a Belhaven sandy loam (loamy, mixed, dysic, thermic, Terric Medisaprist). The behavior of four organic P compounds was studied: adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP), adenosine 5′-diphosphate (ADP), adenosine 5′-monophosphate (AMP), and inositol hexaphosphate (IHP); while KH2PO4 (ortho-P) was used as an inorganic reference. Laboratory studies were conducted to determine the effects of concentration (0–130 μg P mL−1), pH (4.6–7.6), and soil properties on P adsorption. All the organic P compounds had greater adsorption than KH2PO4 on the Blanton and Cecil soils at all concentrations and ranges of pH. In the Belhaven soil, IHP had the greatest sorption followed by KH2PO4 and the nucleotides (ATP, ADP, and AMP, respectively). Adsorption of organic P was positively correlated with soil organic matter and Fe and Al contents. The greater sorption of some organic P compounds over that of ortho-P suggests that these compounds may pose less of a threat to water quality, although this preferential sorption may increase soluble P in situations where there is displacement of ortho-P by organic P added in manures.

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