New Administrator

I would just like to say a quick hello as the new administrator of the soil phosphorus forum. If you have any posts or requests please get in touch.

Many thanks


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Doctoral and postdoctoal opportunities at Environmental Biogeochemistry Laboratory at the University of Delaware

The Environmental Biogeochemistry Laboratory ( at the University of Delaware has openings for two graduate students and a postdoctoral researcher. A short description of the positions and benefits is included below:

  1. Graduate students
  2. i) Source tracking of phosphorus in a watershed. It requires general background in soil chemistry, biogeochemistry, and watershed scale processes. Experience on stable isotopes (P and N) or nutrient cycling in a watershed is a plus.
  3. ii) Residual and recalcitrant phosphorus in soil. It requires background on soil sciences/chemistry, geochemistry or related discipline.

Candidates are for PhD degree. A 12-month research assistantship of ~$25,000 will be paid to graduate students. Graduate application has be made through UD ( Successful candidates are anticipated to start late summer or Fall.

  1. Postdoctoral associate 

Fate of phytate in the environment. Phytate and other inositol phosphates in soils: detection, quantitation, and degradation and address the longstanding question on accumulation vs decomposition of phytate in the environment. A recent Ph.D. in soil sciences, chemistry or related discipline from an accredited university is required. Candidate must have knowledge and experience in one or more of the following research techniques: ion chromatography, stable isotopes, 1 and 2-D NMR spectroscopy, stereochemistry, and enzymology, and a proven record through scientific publications. Candidate must be willing to learn other research technique from his/her own expertise.

A 12-month salary of $48,000 will be paid to the postdoctoral associate. University of Delaware offers a generous health insurance and other benefits.  See for complete details of the benefit package.

Interested candidates for both positions are advised to contact Deb Jaisi ( for further information.

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9th International Symposium on Ecosystem Behavior

August 20-24, 2017
Litomyšl Chateau, Czech Republic

You are cordially invited to BIOGEOMON 2017, to be held next summer at the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site of Litomyšl, Czech Republic.

The symposium will focus on biogeochemistry in an era of global change. Long-term trends in ecosystem functioning and stoichiometry of biogeochemical processes in upland and wetland soils will be emphasized, along with catchment monitoring/modelling, and translocations of nutrients, micronutrients and trace metals in forest ecosystems, grasslands and extreme environments. We look forward to seeing you in the lovingly restored 16th century town of Litomyšl.


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Studentship opportunity: organic phosphate cycling in soils

The biodiversity of organic phosphate (phytate) cycling in soils (BREARLEY_UBIO17EE) – CASE studentship with AB Vista/AB Enzymes

 Project Supervisor: Dr Charles Brearley (

School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia

Project description (more information here)

Phytate (inositol hexakisphosphate) is one of the most abundant organic phosphates in the environment and is of great importance to the global P-cycle. Synthesized by plants, the amount harvested in beans, grains, tubers and other organs is equivalent to the amount of phosphate fertilizer applied to soils per annum. That not harvested enters soils where it undergoes biological and geochemical transformations. We do not know which organisms are responsible for recycling phytate phosphate in the environment, it likely depends on the soil type, but we have strong evidence that microbial phytases are responsible.

Project aims
To study the role of bacteria in phytate/phosphate recycling in soils, particularly to identify the species and the enzymes they express that are responsible for phytate recycling, and so to provide lead enzymes for our industrial partner’s next generation phytase discovery programmes.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on 14/15 February 2017.

Successful candidates who meet RCUK’s eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship. In most cases, UK and EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for 3 years are eligible for a full award. In 2016/17, the stipend was £14,296.

  • Start date October 2017
  • Programme PhD
  • Studentship Length 3.5 years

more information here

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Phosphorus – ESPP video

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PhD position at VITO- Quantification of phosphorus flux

Early Stage Researcher (PhD) Fellowships – ESR1, Quantification of phosphorus fluxvito
The Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) calls for candidates for a PhD-position available from October 2016 onwards. The fellowship “Quantification of phosphorus flux” is available within the INSPIRATION Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network.Further information and the full terms and conditions regarding eligibility are provided on Work Programme 2014-2015.

Application process

Candidates should provide the following information before August 15 in one file for their application :
1. A detailed CV with covering letter which explains your suitability, competence and motivation for scientific research and the fellowship
2. All undergraduate level certificates including university grades. Foreign documents should be sent as certified English translations.
3. A summary of technical and scientific experience
4. A synopsis of the undergraduate/Master’s level thesis if applicable, or a detailed description of any previous research project and its appropriate work plan
5. A list of publications and/or presentations at meetings, if applicable
6. Contact information of two referees
Applications should be addressed by email to: Ingeborg Joris ( and in cc to Ilse Van Keer (
Additional information
Further information on other fellowships available within the INSPIRATION Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network can be found on Further information on the INSPIRATION project and consortium partners can be found on

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Organic Acids Regulation of Chemical−Microbial Phosphorus Transformations in Soils

Daniel Blackburn and coauthors detailed and quantified the different processes occurring with soil phosphorus when organic acids are added at different doses. This paper published in Environmental Science & Technology journal brings new insight to the plant P bioavailability and its relation to soil P desorption and diffusion kinetics, as well as to the soil microbial biomass.


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