In soils and other environmental samples, phosphorus (P) may be found in a range of inorganic
and organic forms. Inorganic P forms include orthophosphate, which is readily available to
plants, and complex inorganic P forms such as pyrophosphate and polyphosphate. Organic P
forms can be divided into groups such as orthophosphate monoesters (e.g. sugar phosphates,
phytic acid) and orthophosphate diesters (e.g. phospholipids, DNA) and phosphonates.
Identifying P forms is important to enhance crop growth, with and without fertilization, and to
minimize P loss to water, where it can cause harmful algal blooms. This presentation describes
some of our recent research using solution 31P NMR spectroscopy to characterize P forms in a
range of Saskatchewan soils, as well as swine manure.