Navigation Links
Calculating agriculture's phosphorus footprint
Date:4/13/2010

Balancing phosphorus levels in crop lands is a key factor that is often overlooked in discussions of global food security, according to a paper published in the International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology.

Current global issues include carbon footprints, water resources and climate change. However, the non-renewable element phosphorus for plant growth is often overlooked in the global context.

Biologist John Lott of McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues there and at the University of Sydney, Australia, point out that when food scarcity increases, instability in society increases. Given that the majority of the food we eat is from cereals and legumes, the phosphorus cycle is a critical element of food security. Phosphorus is essential for crop plant growth, but soils become depleted as it is removed from the land when the grain and seeds are harvested.

The researchers have analysed nine years of data on total dry cereal grain and total dry legume seed production, production of barley, maize, rice, soybean and wheat grains/seeds, yields, area farmed, the tonnage of phosphorus and phytic acid removed in these crops and the elemental phosphorus applied as mineral fertilizers to all plant crops.

The world estimate of the elemental P removed with the dry seed/grain and fleshy fruit crops that contain seeds is in the range of 56-71% of the elemental phosphorus applied as mineral fertilizer for all purposes worldwide. Depending on the soil type, considerable amounts of phosphorus may become unusable by plants, the team explains.

An analysis of the phosphorus data by the team reveals several significant imbalances in the agricultural cycling of phosphorus that could seriously affect global food security. For instance, Asia consumes significantly more mineral phosphorus fertilizer in proportion to crop production than any other region, which could represent a potential environmental, economic and social problem for that part of the world.

"This is a particularly relevant and important topic in the light of the increasing global population since high quality P reserves are diminishing and the cost of fertilizers are escalating rapidly with few options available to increase fertilizer phosphorus use efficiency," the team says.

There are various approaches to improving the position of phosphorus in food production and security, Lott and colleagues suggest. More effort must be made to combine all possible factors to increase the supply of our most important cereal and legume grain/seed crops in an efficient and environmentally sustainable way, they explain. That means optimising the use of phosphorus fertilizers, using selective breeding and genetic modification to produce crops that require less phosphorus depending on whether they are destined for animal feed or human consumption. Most of all, improving agricultural and governance practices can all play important roles in improving food security, in general.


'/>"/>

Contact: John Lott
lott@mcmaster.ca
905-529-0587
Inderscience Publishers
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Calculating gene and protein connections in a Parkinsons disease model
2. Everglades phosphorus limits on the right track, but more is needed
3. Diatoms discovered to remove phosphorus from oceans
4. Tracking poultry litter phosphorus: Threat of accumulation?
5. Understanding phosphorus in soils is vital to proper management
6. Researchers call for nitrogen and phosphorus reductions to combat eutrophication in aquatic systems
7. Changing climate will lead to devastating loss of phosphorus from soil
8. Expert to discuss phosphorus impact on Gulf dead zone
9. Earths soils bear unmistakable footprints of humans
10. Shrinking carbon footprints
11. Carnegie Mellon urges industry to broaden carbon footprint calculations
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys ... founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned ... of the original technical leadership team, including Chief Technology ... of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of ... to the company. Dr. Bready served as ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... WAKEFIELD, Massachusetts , March 23, 2016 ... kombiniert im Interesse erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und ... Xura, Inc. (NASDAQ: MESG ... heute bekannt, dass das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro ... insbesondere aus der Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... OTTAWA, Ontario , PROVO ... 2016 Newborn Screening Ontario (NSO), which operates ... for molecular testing, and Tute Genomics and ... process management technology respectively, today announced the launch of ... new next-generation sequencing (NGS) testing panel. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the ... commonly-identified miRNAs in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject ... it now. , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 A person commits ... the crime scene to track the criminal down. ... U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has ... to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... FRANCISCO , June 23, 2016   EpiBiome ... has secured $1 million in debt financing from Silicon ... ramp up automation and to advance its drug development ... its new facility. "SVB has been an ... beyond the services a traditional bank would provide," said ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated ... the medical community, has closed its Series A funding ... . "We have received a commitment from ... we need to meet our current goals," stated ... the runway to complete validation on the current projects ...
Breaking Biology Technology: