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Phosphorus Speciation in Atmospherically Deposited Particulate Matter and Implications for Terrestrial Ecosystem Productivity.

  • Author(s): O'Day, Peggy A
  • Nwosu, Ugwumsinachi G
  • Barnes, Morgan E
  • Hart, Stephen C
  • Berhe, Asmeret Asefaw
  • Christensen, John N
  • Williams, Kenneth H
  • et al.
Abstract

Chemical forms of phosphorus (P) in airborne particulate matter (PM) are poorly known and do not correlate with solubility or extraction measurements commonly used to infer speciation. We used P X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) and 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopies to determine P species in PM collected at four mountain sites (Colorado and California). Organic P species dominated samples from high elevations, with organic P estimated at 65-100% of total P in bulk samples by XANES and 79-88% in extracted fractions (62-84% of total P) by NMR regardless of particle size (≥10 or 1-10 μm). Phosphorus monoester and diester organic species were dominant and present in about equal proportions, with low fractions of inorganic P species. By comparison, PM from low elevation contained mixtures of organic and inorganic P, with organic P estimated at 30-60% of total P. Intercontinental PM transport determined from radiogenic lead (Pb) isotopes varied from 0 to 59% (mean 37%) Asian-sourced Pb at high elevation, whereas stronger regional PM inputs were found at low elevation. Airborne flux of bioavailable P to high-elevation ecosystems may be twice as high as estimated by global models, which will disproportionately affect net primary productivity.

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