Introduction

Phosphorus (P) is important because it is an essential ingredient of the energy metabolism of all forms of life. It is one of the three macronutrients needed by all crops (together with N and K). Human activity has quadrupled the mobilization of phosphorus and although the availability of this nonrenewable resource does not seem to pose a problem at the moment, there are other aspects of our phosphorus metabolism which do require our attention, namely the wastes (water and soil sinks) and how we affect the normal cycle of phosphorus on Earth. Throughout the metabolism of phosphorus in our economy, there are large amounts of wastes and emissions as will be shown later. P sources coming from industry, farmland, animal feed, and household consumption are all main contributors to over-nutrient water bodies, causing eutrophication. For the soil sink, P is accumulated in both agricultural and natural soils due to fertilizer application exceeding crop assimilation, and due to dumped industrial, agricultural, and animal wastes which slowly leach into the soil. Thus a huge amount of P is immobilized in soils, which results in deterioration of farmlands and the inefficient use of P resource.

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