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An element of concern: phosphorus, food and our future
Date:12/16/2010

What element is commonly found in every living creature on Earth yet may become scarce in our lifetimes? If you answer phosphorus, youd be one of only a few individuals in tune with scientists and governments aware of limitations in this mined resource.

How can a common element find itself considered alongside rare earth elements as an issue of national security? What many people dont understand is that the great majority of the phosphorus used in intensive agriculture comes from fertilizers, and essentially all of that comes from mines. Ninety percent of identified geological reserves of phosphorus are located in only five countries: Morocco and Western Sahara, China, South Africa, Jordan and the United States; and real questions are emerging about what reserves actually remain.

To address these concerns, Arizona State University will host an international conference, the Sustainable Phosphorus Summit, Feb. 3-5, 2011. The summit will partner guest speakers, such as Dana Cordell and Stuart White, co-founders of the Global Phosphorus Research Initiative, and science communicators, such as Andrew Revkin, prize-winning journalist and author, with international experts in academia, industry, NGOs, government, and students and stakeholders in diverse fields, such as agriculture, biogeochemistry, business, economics, chemical and civil engineering, policy and governance, national security, and international relations.

The early registration deadline is Jan. 1. To register, visit: http://sols.asu.edu/frontiers/2011/index.php

The goals of the Sustainable Phosphorus Summit are to build collaborations and reliable information about the problem. The hope of the organizers is the that expansion of creative partners in the U.S. and globally with farmers, educators, engineers, designers and civic leaders will fuel development of technologies to support green agriculture and wast
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Contact: margaret coulombe
margaret.coulombe@asu.edu
480-727-8934
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert

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