Global Phosphorus Dynamics
- LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2020
- LAST MODIFIED: 27 June 2018
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199363445-0097
- LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2020
- LAST MODIFIED: 27 June 2018
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199363445-0097
Phosphorus (P) is an essential element for both plant and animal life. It provides energy to cells in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and is a structural component of cell walls (phospholipids) and of nucleic acids (phosphate backbone of DNA and RNA). Biological productivity is heavily reliant on P availability to photosynthetic organisms, which constitute the base of the food chain in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and hence used as a fertilizer to increase crop yield. The biogeochemical processes governing P availability and dynamics in the environment are complex, and vary widely from one ecosystem to another, thus requiring a highly interdisciplinary approach to research.
General Overviews and Textbooks
Unlike other major biogeochemical elements, the global P cycle is unique in that it does not have a significant gaseous component, as phosphine requires a highly reduced environment to be stable. The majority of terrestrial reactive P is originally derived from the weathering of calcium phosphate (e.g., apatite) and other minerals and the conversion of mineral P to dissolved forms. Since P content in rocks is generally low, microbial recycling of organic P forms plays an important role in supporting primary production and controlling ecosystem structure. Overall, the global P cycle has five main components: (1) tectonic uplift of P-bearing rocks (e.g., phosphorite); (2) physical and chemical weathering of rocks and minerals, generating soils as well as particulate and dissolved P forms; (3) P transport to water bodies via rivers, streams, groundwater, and aerosols; (4) P transport to the deep ocean via sedimentation of mineral P and particulate organic matter (marine snow); and (5) P burial in marine sediments and transformations and lithification after burial. The textbooks included below provide overviews of specific components of the P cycle. Schlesinger and Bernhardt 2013 is a comprehensive textbook dedicated to biogeochemistry, with insights into global biogeochemical cycles, including that of P cycle. Libes 1992 and Hansell and Carlson 2002 focus on marine biogeochemistry, with the former including an overview of the marine P cycle and the latter focusing on dissolved organic matter and the dynamics of dissolved organic P. Turner, et al. 2005 focuses on organic P in the environment, from its characterization to the biotic and abiotic processes controlling its reactivity in the environment. Selim 2015 is a compilation of studies examining the role P plays in enhancing or reducing the mobility of heavy metals in soil and the soil-water-plant environment. Nriagu and Moore 1984 is dedicated to P mineralogy, while Shergold and Cook 2005; Notholt, et al. 2005; and Burnett and Riggs 2006 focus on phosphorite deposits across geologic time. Lastly, Zapata and Roy 2004 combines research on the application of phosphate rocks in agriculture.
Burnett, W. C., and S. R. Riggs. 2006. Phosphate deposits of the world. Vol. 3, Neogene to modern phosphorites. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.
This volume investigates the environmental setting and resulting phosphorus that formed during the Miocene, a recent major phosphogenic period.
Hansell, D. A., and C. A. Carlson. 2002. Biogeochemistry of marine dissolved organic matter. San Diego, CA: Elsevier.
This text focuses on marine dissolved organic matter (DOM) and presents analytic methods for different DOM pools in addition to insights into the processes controlling DOM reactivity, composition, and transformations.
Libes, Susan M. 1992. An introduction to marine biogeochemistry. 2d ed. Burlington, MA: Elsevier.
This book examines the physical and redox chemistry of seawater and marine sediments, as well as marine organic biogeochemistry and the issues of marine pollution.
Notholt, A. J. G., R. P. Sheldon, and D. F. Davidson. 2005. Phosphate deposits of the world. Vol. 2, phosphate rock resources. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.
This book details most major individual deposits or phosphate fields of the world, both of igneous and sedimentary origin.
Nriagu, J. O., and P. H. Moore. 1984. Phosphate minerals. Berlin: Springer.
This mineralogy text is dedicated to phosphate minerals or their synthetic equivalents.
Schlesinger, W. H., and E. S. Bernhardt. 2013. Biogeochemistry: An analysis of global change. 3d ed. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
This book provides in-depth coverage of biogeochemical processes in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems along with a synthesis of the major biogeochemical cycles.
Selim, H. M. 2015. Phosphate in soils: Interaction with micronutrients, radionuclides and heavy metals. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis.
This text brings together the latest research to highlight the role phosphate plays in enhancing or reducing the mobility of heavy metals in soil and the soil-water-plant environment.
Shergold, J. H., and P. J. Cook. 2005. Phosphate deposits of the world. Vol. 1, Proterozoic and Cambrian phosphorites. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.
This text describes almost one hundred Precambrian or Cambrian phosphorite deposits around the world, detailing their distribution, nature, and origin.
Turner, B. L., E. Frossard, and D. S. Baldwin. 2005. Organic phosphorus in the environment. Cambridge, MA: CABI.
This book details the various approaches available for characterizing the chemical structure of organic P, as well as the processes controlling the dynamics of organic P in the environment. These include the abiotic stabilization and degradation of organic P, microbial processes, enzymatic hydrolysis, as well as P utilization by higher plants.
Zapata, F., and R. N. Roy. 2004. Use of phosphate rocks for sustainable agriculture. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
This book is dedicated to research on the application of phosphate rock sources to agriculture.
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