WEDNESDAY, 2 MARCH 2011
Most phosphorus is mined from mineral deposits underground. Only a few locations have been found where it is possible to access these deposits and, as with coal and oil, there is only a limited amount available globally. Once these stores have been depleted they will take millions of years to regenerate. Scientists from the University of Wisconsin and McGill University have recently reviewed phosphorous use and suggest that phosphorus-containing fertilisers are often applied when they are not needed, resulting in the high levels of freshwater eutrophication seen in many places . The team also theorise that continued phosphorus overuse my soon lead to partial deoxygenation of the oceans, with profound effects on wildlife worldwide. They state the importance of conservation and redistribution of remaining phosphorus reserves, but are unable to provide any long term solutions .
Written by Jonathan Lawson