Phosphorus Fertilization: Too Much of a Good Thing Can be Detrimental.

The economic benefits of phosphorus fertilization on crop production are well documented, also its importance for food security but is phosphorus fertilization free from risks and threats? or is too much of a good thing can be detrimental? If so, what are the threats and risks that are associated with the excesstive use of phosphorus.

Soil degradation is a worldwide problem especially with the inceasing damming of rivers around the world due to the need for hydro-electric power. Natural erosion that brings fertile soil to the low land and deltas are being halted as eroded materials are forced to accumulate behind artifically engineered barriers, i.e. the dams. As a consequence of damming of rivers huge land-areas loose their natural fartility and artificial fertilization is required for mitigation. This is, indeed, on short-term perspective both economically and environmentally expensive, and out-come are disastrous what regards the long-term and large-scale consequences.

Excessive use of phosphorus in agriculture for food production has negative impacts on water quality of aquatic systems (rivers, lakes and marine coasts) and groundwater due to increasing levels of P in aquatic systems that cause “eutrophication”, decreasing levels of oxygen and gradual decrease in fish productivity. Degradation of water quality of groundwater is associated with increasing agricultural waste/run-off. In all cases, there are associated costs for mitigation, rehabilitation and purification of water.

Another critical issue in securing our future food is indeed missing from the global policy agenda: we are running out of cheap and readily available phosphate fertilizer on which world agriculture is totally dependent. Supply of phosphorus from mined phosphate rock could ‘peak’ as soon as 2033, as phosphate rock is a non-renewable resource becoming increasingly scarce and expensive.

“” will represent an alternative and sustainable approaches for fertilization with several benefits over artificial phosphorus fertilization that can very well replace it. This alternative is WE-saving, i.e. can save both energy and water, it is environment friendly.




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