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Chemosphere. 2010 Jan;78(1):13-21. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2009.09.059. Epub 2009 Oct 28.

Estimation of phosphorus content and dynamics during composting: use of near infrared spectroscopy.

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Department of Agrochemistry and Environment, Miguel Hernandez University, EPS-Orihuela, Orihuela (Alicante), Spain.


The content and chemical forms of P in compost are essential variables for its proper management with an agricultural purpose, especially considering the increasing P over-fertilization in agrosystems. In this study, the estimation of P content and dynamics in different composting scenarios was developed using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) coupled with a statistical tool for calibration, a penalized signal regression. Samples were analyzed on total P and partitioned using NaOH-solution (31)P NMR spectroscopy quantifying pyrophosphate, orthophosphate, orthophosphate diesters, phospholipids, and orthophosphate monoesters pools. According to the results obtained, total P content (r(2)=0.99 and root mean square error of cross-validation=0.53) and P forms can be estimated during composting using NIRS, as well as in the mature product, orthophosphate and orthophosphate monoesters being the most abundant P forms throughout the experiment. Penalized signal regression allows detecting the significant wavenumbers in each composting period, and also with the different P pools in the composting pile depending on time.

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