Yuki Audette, Chris Parsons, Fereidoun Rezanezhad and Phillippe Van Cappellen of the Ecohydrology Research Group co-authored a paper titled “Phosphorus binding to soil organic matter via ternary complexes with calcium”, which was recently published in Chemosphere.
The study yields evidence for the formation of binary complex between humic acids (HA) and calcium (Ca), and ternary complex among HA, Ca and phosphorus (P) with HA extracted from an organic agricultural soil and a riparian soil. The binary HA-Ca complexes formed via either monodentate complexation or electrostatic attraction are capable to incorporate P forming ternary HA-Ca-P complexations, while the binary HA-Ca complexes formed via bidentate complexation do not provide bridging positions to incorporate P. The study also showed that the formation of ternary complexes is influenced by pH, calcium binding capacity as well as HA structure and thus source dependent. Our improved understanding of the formation of HA-Ca-P complexes could be leveraged to more effectively remove and recycle excess P and should remain a topic of further research. The study included collaborators from Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Guelph.
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