Phosphorus Cycle facts
- Another important nutritional element that is part of a biogeochemical cycle is phosphorus.
- Phosphorus exists almost in nature as phosphate.
- The availability of phosphorus may determine whether plants and other organisms can grow in an area.
- Phosphorus exists primarily as phosphate ions (P04³−) and undergoes very little change in its oxidation state.
- This is cycled between soluble and insoluble forms.
- The phosphorus cycle involves changes from soluble to insoluble forms and from organic to inorganic phosphate, in relation to pH.
For example: Phosphate in rocks can be solubilized by the acid produced by bacteria such as Thiobacillus.
- The other cycles, there is no volatile phosphorus containing product to return phosphorus to the atmosphere in the way carbon dioxide, nitrogen gas, and sulfur dioxide are returned.
- Therefore, phosphorus tends to accumulate in the seas. It can be retrieved by mining the above-ground sediments of ancient seas, mostly as deposits of calcium phosphate.
- Seabirds also mine phosphorus from the sea by eating phosphorus containing fish and depositing it as guano (bird droppings).
- Certain small islands inhabited by such birds have long been mined for these deposits as a source of phosphorus for fertilizers.