Plant Nutrition

Phosphorus (P) is a major nutrient and an important constituent in cell membranes, DNA and RNA, and energy transporters. In most natural environments, inorganic orthophosphate is often limiting, P cycling and turnover are rapid, and organic compounds represents the main phosphate source to organisms.

We use a relatively new stable isotopic tracer, oxygen isotopes bound to phosphorus in phosphate to better understand the aspects of the P biogeochemical cycle which are still unclear, since many biological processes cannot be easily identified and quantified in natural settings. The O-P bond is highly stable at ambient temperature and in most environments on Earth, and only biological processes promote a significant change in the isotope signature of the phosphate.

In soil sciences, the use of δ18O-P is still in its infancy and relatively little has been published. We are working in optimizing existing preparation techniques for soil studies, combining sequential extraction of P to isotopic analysis. Our projects aim at characterizing and understand the processes influencing the isotopic signature in the soil and plants. We also work on the isotopic characterization of P sources in agricultural systems (plant residues, organic manure, mineral fertilizers) aiming at tracing them and assess their behavior in the environment.

  • Phosphorus cycle in the environment
  • Isotopic tools (oxygen stable isotope in phosphate) in the soil/plant/water ecosystem
  • Soil formation
  • Sources and sinks of phosphorus in agricultural systems
  • Understanding soil selenium accumulation and bioavailability through size resolved and elemental characterization of soil extracts
    Tolu, J; Bouchet, S; (...); Winkel, LHE
    Nature Communications 13 (1), DOI 10.1038/s41467-022-34731-6   2022
  • Phosphate oxygen isotope fingerprints of past biological activity in the Atacama Desert
    Wang, Ye; Moradi, Ghazal; Klumpp, Erwin; von Sperber, Christian; Tamburini, Federica; et al.
    Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta 10.1016/j.gca.2021.07.027   2022
  • New Ag3PO4 comparison material for stable oxygen isotope analysis
    Watzinger, Andrea; Schott, Katharina; Hood-Nowotny, Rebecca; Tamburini, Federica; Arppe, Laura; et al.
    Rapid Communications In Mass Spectrometry 10.1002/rcm.9101  JUN 30 2021
  • Cycling of reduced phosphorus compounds in soil and potential impacts of climate change
    Kehler, Anchen; Haygarth, Philip; Tamburini, Federica; Blackwell, Martin
    European Journal Of Soil Science 10.1111/ejss.13121  Early Access: MAY 2021
  • Tracing uptake and translocation of phosphorus in wheat using oxygen isotopes and mathematical modelling
    Bauke, Sara L.; Schnepf, Andrea; von Sperber, Christian; Orlowski, Natalie; Lewandowski, Hans; et al.
    New Phytologist 10.1111/nph.17307 Published: JUN 2021
  • A review of phosphate oxygen isotope values in global bedrocks: characterising a critical endmember to the soil phosphorus system
    Smith, Andrew C.; Pfahler, Verena; Tamburini, Federica; Blackwell, Martin S. A.; Granger, Steven J.
    Journal Of Plant Nutrition And Soil Science, 10.1002/jpln.202000513 FEB 2021
  • Microspectroscopy reveals dust-derived apatite grains in acidic, highly-weathered Hawaiian soils
    Vogel, Christian; Helfenstein, Julian; Massey, Michael S.; Sekine, Ryo; Kretzschmar, Ruben; et al.
    Geoderma  DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2020.114681  JAN 1 2021
  • Biogeochemical cycling of phosphorus in subsoils of temperate forest ecosystems
    Rodionov, Andrei; Bauke, Sara L.; von Sperber, Christian; Hoeschen, Carmen; Kandeler, Ellen; et al.
    Biogeochemistry   DOI: 10.1007/s10533-020-00700-8      OCT 2020
  • In or Out of Equilibrium? How Microbial Activity Controls the Oxygen Isotopic Composition of Phosphate in Forest Organic Horizons With Low and High Phosphorus Availability
    Pistocchi, Chiara; Meszaros, Eva; Frossard, Emmanuel; Buenemann, E. K.; Tamburini, Federica
    Frontiers In Environmental Science  DOI: 10.3389/fenvs.2020.564778  SEP 29 2020
  • A dual isotopic (P-32 and O-18) incubation study to disentangle mechanisms controlling phosphorus cycling in soils from a climatic gradient (Kohala, Hawaii)
    Siegenthaler, Maja Barbara; Tamburini, Federica; Frossard, Emmanuel; Chadwick, Oliver; Vitousek, Peter; et al.
    Soil Biology & Biochemistry  DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2020.107920  OCT 2020
  • Changes of oxygen isotope values of soil P pools associated with changes in soil pH
    Pfahler, Verena; Macdonald, Andy; Mead, Andrew; Smith, Andrew C.; Tamburini, Federica; et al.
    Scientific Reports  DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-59103-2   FEB 7 2020
  • Selenium accumulation and speciation in soils along a climate gradient
    Tolu, J.; Bouchet, S.; Chekifi, S. D.; Hausheer, O.; Chadwick, O. A.; et al.
    Selenium Research For Environment And Human Health: Perspectives, Technologies And Advancements, 67-68, 2020
  • Estimates of mean residence times of phosphorus in commonly considered inorganic soil phosphorus pools
    Helfenstein, Julian; Pistocchi, Chiara; Oberson, Astrid; Tamburini, Federica; Goll, Daniel S.; et al.
    Biogeosciences,  DOI: 10.5194/bg-17-441-2020, JAN 30 2020
Federica Tamburini

Dr. Federica Tamburini
ETH Zurich
Institute of Agricultural Sciences
8092 Zurich

Tel: +41 (0)44 354 92 81

  • Plant physiology
  • Enzymatic processes in soils