National University Journal of Science Volume 3-5, 2018: 1-18
Phosphate Sorption Capacities of Some Soils in Madhupur Tract
of Bangladesh: Role of Aluminium, Iron and Clay Contents
Mohammad Enayet Hossain, Fatema Tuj Johra Sania and Md. Harunor Rashid Khan
An experiment was carried out to study the phosphate sorption capacities of five
soil series, namely Noadda, Salna, Gerua, Belabo and Chandra in the Madhupur
Tract of Bangladesh. Nine composite soil samples representing the five soil series
were found to exhibit varied sorption capacities. However, most of the soils
showed the highest amount of phosphate sorption at 25 µg P/mL of application.
The sorption data for most of the soils showed a good fit into Langmuir adsorption
isotherm. The values of Langmuir-derived maximum sorption capacity (Q0) varied
widely and was in the following order: Belabo, site 9 (1000 µg/g) > Gerua, site 5
(995 µg/g) > Noadda, site 4 (500 µg/g) > Noadda, site 7 (250 µg/g) = Belabo, site
2 (250 µg/g) > Salna, site 6 (167 µg/g) = Gerua, site 8 (167 µg/g) > Salna, site 3
(143 µg/g) > Chandra, site 1 (56 µg/g). The highest sorption capacity of Belabo
(site 9) soil could be attributed to its total Al, total Mn, and amorphous Fe
contents. The calculated Langmuir coefficient b values were found to be higher
than the threshold value of 0.07 mL/µg for the soils in question meaning the soils
are not prone to loss via surface and subsurface flow. A strong relationship (r =
0.799**) was obtained between phosphate sorption at 10 µg P/mL of application
and the clay content in the studied soils. The aluminium content was also found to
have a significant relationship (r = 0.684*) with the phosphate sorption at 10 µg
P/mL of application. However, the total free iron oxides and the amorphous Fe did
not correlate well with the phosphate sorption at 10 µg P/mL of application.
Therefore, the clay and total aluminium contents were primarily responsible for
the phosphate sorption capacity of the acidic soils of the Madhupur tract under
Keywords: Phosphate sorption capacity, maximum sorption capacity,
aluminium and clay contents, Madhupur tract.
Phosphorus (P) is the tenth most abundant element in the earth’s crust. Total soil P
usually ranges from 100 to 2000 mg P/kg soil representing approximately 350 to 7000 kg
P/ha in the surface 25 cm of the soil, although only a small portion of this P is
immediately available for crop uptake . The availability of P in soils varies greatly and
factors like the nature of parent material, the degree of weathering, and content of organic
matter, etc. control the availability of phosphorus.
Department of Soil, Water and Environment, University of Dhaka, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh.
Corresponding Author, E-mail:email@example.com
2 Mohammad Enayet Hossain, Fatema Tuj Johra Sania and Md. Harunor Rashid Khan
The aspect which makes P sorption capacity of soils more important to soil and
environmental scientists is its nonrenewable nature. World phosphorus production rate is
projected to go down from around 2033, and if that happens the food security in the
world will be in jeopardy . Accumulation of P in the soil results from applications of
animal manures, bio-solids or chemical fertilizer more than the requirement of crops;
phosphate accumulation in soils increases the risk of P movement to surface and ground
waters. Excessive phosphorus in the form of fertilizers or manures may find its way into
nearby water bodies giving rise to eutrophication phenomenon and toxic algal bloom
Many of the soils in Bangladesh are not fertile enough to maintain soil P concentrations
at an optimum. Studies conducted by the soil scientists of Bangladesh revealed that
Bangladesh soils are generally low in total phosphorus . The capacity of the soil to
sorb phosphorus greatly influences plant yield responses to applied P fertilizers. To
correct phosphorus deficiencies, P is applied to agricultural fields in inorganic and/or
organic fertilizers. Soluble P-fertilizers applied to the soil are very rapidly changed to
less soluble compounds which, with time, become less and less available to plants .
Even though there is a fertilizer recommendation guide in Bangladesh for applying
phosphorus fertilizer, the farmers do not generally follow the fertilizer guide .
Consequently, fertilizers are applied arbitrarily and not based on any science, which not
only poses an environmental concern but also lowers the benefit/cost ratio. Therefore,
knowledge of the P sorption capacity of soils is required to provide an accurate estimate
on the P fertilizer requirements of soils.
Phosphate sorption data have been used to estimate P requirements for plant growth and
yield and for ensuring phosphorus is not in excess of requirements. The sorption
isotherms can be used to approximate the quantity of P that must be added in the soil to
raise the P concentration in the soil solution at equilibrium to a desired, or maximum
value . Quantitative descriptions of P sorption by soils have often been made with the
Langmuir and Freundlich equations.
In Bangladesh, very few researches have been done on the phosphate sorption capacity of
soils. To date, only a few soils have been properly characterized in terms of phosphate
sorption requirements. Therefore, there is a need for bringing the un-investigated soils
under study which will help us to manage our rapidly-depleting phosphate resources. The
present experiment was conducted with a view to studying some Madhupur tract soils in
terms of phosphate sorption capacities. The specific objectives of the research were: (1)
to characterize some representative soils of Madhupur Tract of Bangladesh with respect
to phosphate sorption characteristics, and (2) to study the effects of different parameters
of soil on phosphate sorption characteristics.
Materials and Methods
2.1 Collection and Processing of Soil Samples
Nine sites were selected for soil sample collection. The sites covered five soil series of
the Madhupur Tract (Table 1). The soil series are Noadda, Salna, Gerua, Belabo, and
Phosphate Sorption Capacities of Some Soils in Madhupur Tract of Bangladesh 3
Chandra. The soils were designated as Chandra (site 1), Belabo (site 2), Salna (site 3),
Noadda (site 4), Gerua (site 5), Salna (site 6), Noadda (site 7), Gerua (site 8), and Belabo
(site 9). The soils selected from different locations had a wide range of characteristics
(Table 1). The soil samples were collected from the surface horizon at a depth of 0-15 cm
on the basis of the composite sampling method. Samples were air-dried and ground to
pass through 2 of mm and 0.2mm sieves and finally kept in clean plastic containers
carefully with avoidance of any kind of contamination. The 2 mm size samples were used
for mechanical and some chemical analyses while 0.2 mm size samples were used for
iron fractionation process.
Table 1: Correlation of the soil samples with the USDA soil classification system
USDA Soil Family
Medium High Land
Medium High Land
Medium High Land
Medium High Land
Source: FAO/UNDP 
2.2 Methods for Soil Analysis
After collection, soils were processed, and the background analyses were done, and the
batch studies were conducted. The background analyses were done for the physical, and
chemical properties of the soil samples. Particle size analysis of the soils was performed
using the hydrometer method as described by Day . Textural classes were determined
by Marshall’s Triangular Co-ordinates. Soil pH was measured electrochemically using a
combined glass electrode pH meter maintaining a soil-solution ratio of 1:2.5. EC of soil
samples was measured using an electrical conductivity meter maintaining a soil to water
ratio of 1:5. Soil organic carbon was determined by Walkley and Black’s wet oxidation
method as outlined by Jackson . The organic matter percentage was determined by
multiplying the content of percent organic carbon with a factor of 1.724 (van Bemmelen
factor). Total aluminum and manganese were determined by digesting the soil samples
with HNO3-HClO4 acid and then measuring by flame atomic absorption spectroscopy
(AAS) with an Agilent Technologies 200 series AA. As the collected soil samples were
acidic (the pH ranged from 4.83 to 6.23) Bray and Kurtz no. 1 extractant was used for
available P extraction . Phosphorus content in the extract was determined by the
ascorbic acid blue color method of Murphy and Riley  using a Spectrophotometer at
4 Mohammad Enayet Hossain, Fatema Tuj Johra Sania and Md. Harunor Rashid Khan
880 nm. Total free iron oxide was extracted following the procedure of Holmgren .
Poorly crystalline or active iron oxide was determined by using NH4 oxalate-oxalic acid
(pH 3.0) . The extracted total free iron oxide and poorly crystalline or active iron
oxide were then determined by flame atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS).
2.3 Phosphate Sorption Experiment
Phosphate sorption experiment was carried out following the procedure described by
Nair et al. . Briefly, one gram of 2-mm sieved air-dried soil was taken into a 50 mL
centrifuge tube containing 20 ml 0.01M calcium chloride (CaCl2). Nine initial P
concentrations, namely 0, 0.5, 1, 2.5, 5, 10, 20, 25 and 40 µg/mL were added separately
to each centrifuge tube using a soil to solution ratio of 1:20 (w/v). The resultant P
contents were 0, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 800 µg/g soil. The centrifuge tubes were
then shaken and equilibrated for 16 h. Three drops of toluene were added to the
centrifuge tubes to control the activity of microorganisms. After the equilibration period,
the mixtures were centrifuged, and the supernatants were analyzed for phosphate
following Murphy and Riley method . The difference between the concentration of
3--P added in the initial solution and the concentration of PO4
3--P at equilibrium was
used to measure the sorbed P. Each treatment was replicated three times.
2.4 Sorption Models
The sorption isotherm data of P can be modeled into the Langmuir and Freundlich
equations. The Langmuir model assumes that there is no interaction between the
adsorbate molecules and the adsorption is localized in a monolayer [26-28].
Where, 𝐶𝑒 (µg/mL) is the equilibrium concentration of the remaining ions in the
solution; 𝑄𝑒 (µg/g) is the amount of ions adsorbed per mass unit of adsorbent at
equilibrium; 𝑄0 (µg/g) is the amount of ions at complete monolayer which is also called
the P sorption maximum, and 𝑏 (mL/µg) is the Langmuir constant related to the affinity
of binding sites which is a measure of the energy of adsorption. The Langmuir equation
can be described by the linearized form:
The Langmuir constants 𝑄0 and 𝑏 are calculated from the slope (1/𝑄0) and intercept
(1/𝑄0𝑏) of the plots of 𝐶𝑒
(Y-axis) and 𝐶𝑒 (X-axis). The maximum phosphorus buffering
capacity (MPBC) of the soil (the increase in sorbed P per unit increase in final solution P
concentration), is estimated from the product of Langmuir constants 𝑄0 and 𝑏.
The Freundlich isotherm model is an empirical relationship describing the adsorption of
solutes from a liquid to a solid surface, and the model assumes that in the adsorption
process different sites with different adsorption energies are involved . The
Phosphate Sorption Capacities of Some Soils in Madhupur Tract of Bangladesh 5
Freundlich isotherm (Equation 3)  can be applied for non-ideal sorption on
heterogeneous surfaces and multilayer sorption. It also assumes that the adsorbent has a
different affinity for adsorption. The Freundlich equation is expressed as:
𝑄𝑒 = 𝐾𝐹𝐶𝑒1/𝑛 (3)
where 𝐾𝐹 and 𝑛 are Freundlich constants indicating adsorption capacity (µg/g) and
intensity or the favorability of the sorption process, respectively.
To determine the constants 𝐾𝐹 and 𝑛, the Freundlich equation can be described by the
𝑙𝑜𝑔 𝑄𝑒 = 𝑙𝑜𝑔 𝐾𝐹+1
𝑛𝑙𝑜𝑔 𝐶𝑒 (4)
Values of 𝐾𝐹 and 𝑛 are calculated from the intercept and slope of the linear plots of
𝑙𝑜𝑔 𝑄𝑒 vs 𝑙𝑜𝑔 𝐶𝑒.
2.5 Statistical Analysis
MS-Excel and Minitab17 computer programs were used to analyze the experimental
Results and Discussion
Physical and Chemical Properties of Soils
Data obtained through analyses of soils are given in Tables 2 and 3.
Table 2: Some physical and chemical properties of the soil samples
Particle Size Distribution (%)
Silty Clay Loam
Silty Clay Loam
6 Mohammad Enayet Hossain, Fatema Tuj Johra Sania and Md. Harunor Rashid Khan
Table 3: Some chemical properties of the soil samples used in the present study
Phosphate Sorption Batch Studies
Phosphate sorption batch studies were done by equilibrating soils with 0.01 M calcium
chloride solution containing progressively higher concentrations (0 to 40 µg/mL) of
phosphorus. The sorbed phosphate content was then calculated from analysis of the
Phosphate Sorption in Soils
Results from phosphate sorption studies are presented in Table 4. Apart from 0 µg
P/mL application, phosphate was sorbed by the studied soils with all other rates.
Some desorption was noticed in all the soils when no P was applied. That phosphate
gets desorbed when equilibrated with phosphate -free water is a common phenomenon
and was observed by a number of researchers [8, 18 -20]. With few exceptions, the
amount of P sorption progressively increased with increasing P application in all the
soils. This finding is in agreement with the findings of other researchers [6, 18-21].
In Chandra series, phosphate sorption increased gradually up to the rate of 10 µg
3--P/mL. Phosphate sorption increased up to 20 µg PO 4
3--P/mL in Belabo (site 2),
Salna (site 6), Noadda (site 7) and up to 25 µg PO4
3--P/mL in Salna (site 3), and
Gerua (site 8) and beyond that concentrations, the amount of sorption decreased
substantially. The rest of the soil samples showed a trend of increasing P sorption
with increasing P application.
Phosphate Sorption Capacities of Some Soils in Madhupur Tract of Bangladesh 7
Table 4: Phosphate sorption at different rates of P application
P added (µg/mL)
P sorbed (µg/g)
Phosphate Sorption Isotherms
Sorption isotherms are mathematical models that describe the distribution of the sorbate
species among liquid and sorbent making a set of assumptions that are mainly related to the
heterogeneity/homogeneity of sorbents, the type of coverage, and the possibility of
interaction between the sorbate species. The phosphate sorption isotherms of the studied
soils were constructed by plotting the equilibrium concentration of phosphate (Peq) against
the amount of phosphate sorbed (Psorb) (Figure 1). From the sorption isotherms, it is
obvious that the studied soil series showed different trends in sorbing phosphorus from the
soil solution. Almost all the soils behaved similarly exhibiting increased phosphate sorption
with an increase in P application up to 25 µg/mL. At the highest loading (40 µg/mL), P
sorption decreased in all the soils except in Noadda (site 4), Gerua (site 5), and Belabo (site
9). The different sorption mechanisms could be accounted for this phenomenon. There are
two mechanisms whereby phosphate anions get sorbed onto soil micelles. More
specifically, phosphate sorption takes place through specific and non-specific sorption
processes. Specific sorption is related to high-affinity sorption sites and micropore
diffusion sorption [22, 23, 24], whereas non-specific sorption is associated with low-
affinity sites. While specific sorption is predominant during the fast sorption stage, non-
specific sorption predominates during the slow sorption stage. The percentage of sorption
via non-specific sorption process increases when phosphate loading increases .
In the present study, at 40 µg/mL of PO4
3--P application, the amount of phosphate
sorption decreased in most of the soils than what was sorbed at 20-25 µg/mL of PO4
application. Non-specific adsorption process might have played the predominant role for
the additional P loading when P application was increased from 25 to 40 µg/mL.
Therefore, even though the amount of phosphate sorption was higher during the fast-
sorption stage at higher loading (40 µg/mL), in the slow sorption process, the phosphate
was initially sorbed and then desorbed. As a result, more phosphate was sorbed at 20-25
µg/mL than at 40 µg/mL of PO4
3--P application. The highest amount of phosphate sorbed
in the studied soils was compared and it is evident that each soil had a different capacity
to sorb P. Gerua, site 5 (614.89 mg/kg) had the highest maximum adsorption capacity,
followed by Belabo, site 9 (535.42 mg/kg) and Noadda, site 4 (365.74 mg/kg).
8 Mohammad Enayet Hossain, Fatema Tuj Johra Sania and Md. Harunor Rashid Khan
The sorption isotherm data of P was modeled into the Langmuir and Freundlich
equations. When the phosphate sorption data were plotted in the Langmuir adsorption
isotherm by taking Ce/Qe against Ce (Figure 2, Table 5), all the soils showed a good fit
except Gerua soil series (site 5) and Belabo soil series (site 9). R2 value was the highest
in Noadda soil series (site 7), followed by Noadda (site 4)>Salna (site 6)>Belabo (site
2)>Belabo (site 9)> Chandra (site 1)>Gerua (site 8)>Salna (site 3)>Gerua (site 5).
Sorption parameters were calculated from the Langmuir equation (Table 6).
Table 5: Fitted Langmuir and Freundlich equations using sorption data from the studied soils
y = 0.018x - 0.025
y = 0.245x + 1.564
y = 0.004x - 0.003
y = 0.330x + 2.128
y = 0.007x - 0.012
y = 0.294x + 1.996
y = 0.002x + 0.004
y = 0.432x + 2.017
y = 0.001x + 0.007
y = 0.538x + 2.067
y = 0.006x - 0.002
y = 0.319x + 1.849
y = 0.004x + 0.001
y = 0.335x + 1.987
y = 0.006x - 0.007
y = 0.311x + 1.932
y = 0.001x + 0.005
y = 0.489x + 2.077
Table 6: Sorption parameters derived from Langmuir and Freundlich isotherm models
The maximum amount of sorbate sorbed by the soil (Q0) was calculated for all the soils
and Belabo series (site 9) was found to sorb the highest amount of P from a solution
according to Langmuir equation. For the soils in question, the Langmuir-equation-
derived sorption maximum (Q0) ranged from 56 to 1000 µg/g. The maximum phosphate
sorption capacity was in the following order: Belabo (site 9) > Gerua (site 5) > Noadda
(site 4) > Noadda (site 7) = Belabo (site 2) > Gerua (site 8) = Salna (site 6) > Salna (site
3) > Chandra (site 1). The highest sorption capacity of Belabo soil series (site 9) could be
attributed to its Al, Mn and amorphous iron content. Belabo series (site 9) had the highest
amount of Al (3.21%) and much higher Mn (375.99 µg/g) and amorphous iron content
(4339.92 µg/g) among the investigated soils. On the other hand, Chandra series (site 1)
Phosphate Sorption Capacities of Some Soils in Madhupur Tract of Bangladesh 9
possessed the lowest amount of Al (1.13%), Mn (54.11 µg/g) and amorphous iron
(2469.12 µg/g) content and accordingly the sorption capacity was the lowest in that soil.
The Langmuir b coefficient, expressing the bonding energy of P sorption, ranged
from -3.00 to 4.00 mL/µg. Varied values of b indicate that bonding energy associated
with P sorption are different for the studied soils. The binding energy (b) was the
highest for soil Noadda (site 7) (4.00 mL/µg) and the lowest for Salna series (site 6)
(-3.00 mL/µg). Binding energy has enormous implications because it determi nes the
susceptibility of a given soil vis-à-vis phosphate loss via surface and subsurface flow.
The binding energy values for Salna (site 6) and Gerua (site 8) were below the
threshold value of 0.07 mL/µg. However, negative values of coefficient b are
physical nonsense and impossible. It might have arisen from the deviations in the
experiment at lower concentrations. Apart from those two soils (Salna, site 6 and
Gerua, site 8), the rest of the soils are not prone to phosphate loss through the surface
and sub-surface runoff.
The adsorption isotherms were also examined by the linear form of the Freundlich
adsorption equation by plotting log Qe against log Ce (Figure 3, Table 5). Belabo (site
9), Gerua (site 5), and Noadda (site 4) soil series’ showed a good fit to the equation.
The R2 value was the highest for Belabo series (site 9) (0.969), followed by Gerua
(site 5) (0.947), Noadda (site 4) (0.915), Noadda (site 7) (0.865), Salna (site 6)
(0.854), Gerua (site 8) (0.813), Belabo (site 2) (0.703), Chandra (site 1) (0.678) and
Salna (site 3) (0.633).
Sorption parameters were also calculated from the Freundlich equation (Table 6). The
Freundlich exponent, 1/n, represents the heterogeneity of surface sites having
different affinities for phosphate retention by soil. The highest 1/n was found in
Gerua series (site 5) (0.538), followed by Belabo (site 9) (0.489), Noadda (site 7)
(0.432), Noadda (site 7) (0.335), Gerua (site 8) (0.335), B elabo (site 2) (0.33), Salna
(site 6) (0.319), Salna (site 3) (0.294) and Chandra (site 1) (0.245) (Table 6).
Freundlich coefficient Kf, which is a measure of the amount of P sorption sites,
ranged from 36.64 to 134.28 µg/g in the studied soils. According to Freundlich
parameter Kf, Belabo (site 2) had the highest sorption sites followed by Belabo (site
9), Gerua (site 5), Noadda (site 4), Salna (site 3), Noadda (site 7), Gerua (site 8),
Salna (site 6) and Chandra (site 1). The fact that Belabo soils have the highest
amount of sorption sites can be explained by the amount of total aluminium content
present in the soil. This finding can be substantiated by the findings of Singh and
Gilkes . In a phosphate sorption experiment, the researchers found all fo rms of
extractable aluminium were significantly and positively correlated with the
Freundlich parameter, K f.
Maximum P buffering Capacity (MPBC)
Maximum P buffering capacity (MPBC) is a product of Langmuir model Q0 and b [31,
32]. The MPBC data shown in Table 6 indicate that Noadda (site 7) will need the highest
10 Mohammad Enayet Hossain, Fatema Tuj Johra Sania and Md. Harunor Rashid Khan
amount of phosphate fertilizer compared to other soils. Gradually decreasing amount of P
fertilization should be maintained in Belabo (site 2), Noadda (site 4), Belabo (site 9),
Gerua (site 5), Salna (site 3) and Chandra (site 1) for optimum plant growth. Following
this trend, someone should be able to maintain an optimum concentration of phosphorus
for crop growth with less expense.
Figure 1(a-d): Phosphate sorption isotherm of studied soil samples.
Chandra (Site 1)
Belabo (Site 1)
Salna (Site 3)
Noadda (Site 4)
Phosphate Sorption Capacities of Some Soils in Madhupur Tract of Bangladesh 11
Figure 1(e-i): Phosphate sorption isotherm of studied soil samples.
Gerua (Site 5)
Salna (Site 6)
Noadda (Site 7)
Belabo (Site 8)
Belabo (Site 9)
12 Mohammad Enayet Hossain, Fatema Tuj Johra Sania and Md. Harunor Rashid Khan
Figure 2: Sorption isotherm fitted to Langmuir equation
Phosphate Sorption Capacities of Some Soils in Madhupur Tract of Bangladesh 13
Figure 3: Sorption isotherms fitted to Freundlich equation
14 Mohammad Enayet Hossain, Fatema Tuj Johra Sania and Md. Harunor Rashid Khan
Phosphate Sorption in Relation to Soil Properties
Different soil properties and phosphate sorption parameters were also tested among
themselves for relationships. Pearson correlation analysis was performed between the
amount of phosphate sorbed at 10 µg P/mL of application and different sorption
parameters and different soil properties (Table 7). The 10 µg P/mL application rate was
chosen for correlation analysis because at this concentration, the sorption behavior was
more or less similar across the soils selected for the study. Correlation analysis was also
done among the sorption parameters and the different soil properties. Significant
correlations with r > 0.5 (therefore explaining 25% of total variation) were only
considered for further discussion. Significance was determined based on whether p-
values are <0.05 or not.
There is a strong relationship (r = 0.799**) between P sorption at 10 µg P/mL of
application and the clay content. Statistically significant relationship was also found
between P sorption at 10 µg P/mL of application and the aluminum content (r = 0.684*).
These relationships are confirming that P sorption was primarily governed by the amount
of clay and aluminum content in the studied soils. The phosphate sorption coefficient Kf
correlated strongly with phosphate sorption implying that phosphate sorption increases as
sorption site increases (Kf is a measure of the number of P sorption sites in a soil). The
amount of clay content was found to correlate strongly with P sorption coefficient Kf
meaning that the clay content controls the number of sorption sites in the studied soils.
Two phosphate sorption coefficients Q0 (maximum sorption capacity) and 1/n correlated
strongly (r = 0.927***) which means that as the sorption capacity of soil increases, the
slope 1/n increases, and more sorption occurs; this relationship also ascertains the fact
that these two coefficients are expressions of the same soil property. No significant
relationships were observed between phosphate sorption and other soil properties
considered in this study.
The aluminum content and the clay content of the studied soils correlated strongly (r =
0.906***) meaning the percentage of aluminum was higher than usual. Organic matter,
active Fe (total free iron oxides) and active Fe (amorphous Fe) did not correlate well with
the phosphate sorption at 10 µg P/mL of application.
Phosphate Sorption Capacities of Some Soils in Madhupur Tract of Bangladesh 15
Table 7: Correlation coefficient (r) of phosphate sorption at 10 µg/mL with different properties of soil and phosphate
sorption parameters (n = 9)
Significant at * P<0.05, ** P<0.01 and *** P<0.001, respectively; NS = not significant
P app @ 10 = Phosphorus application at 10 µg P/mL application
P app@ 10
16 Mohammad Enayet Hossain, Fatema Tuj Johra Sania and Md. Harunor Rashid Khan
A sorption experiment was done with some representative acidic soils of Madhupur Tract
of Bangladesh to observe the role of clay content, iron and aluminum content on the
phosphate sorption capacities of soils. The soils having higher aluminum and clay
content sorbed more phosphate compared to other soils. A strong relationship was
obtained between P sorption at 10 µg P/mL of application and the clay content and the
aluminum content. However, the amount of total and free iron oxides did not correlate
well with the phosphate sorption capacity of soils. These relationships ascertain the
much-studied fact that phosphate sorption is primarily governed by the amount of clay
and aluminum content in acidic soils.
We are grateful to the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Government of the
People’s Republic of Bangladesh for the grant under the 2017-2018 special allocation
and the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh for their financial support in the
2017-2018 financial year. We are also thankful to the people in the Advanced Lab of the
Department of Soil, Water and Environment, the University of Dhaka for their immense
help in the analysis of the samples.
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