31 Oct 2013

The Phosphorus Crisis: When Is It Coming, and Is There a Simple Solution?

Phosphate rock reserve estimates for select countries from 1989 to 2011 (Source: USGS).

Biologist Mohamed Hijri presents an interesting TED talk (see 'Related Content') on the important topic of two issues associated with the phosphorus nutrition of plants. The first is the finite nature of phosphate reserves (the source of phosphorus fertilizer), and the second is algal blooms arising from losses of phosphorus from agricultural fields. We appreciate the recognition of the important role of phosphorus in supporting agricultural production for a future global population of over 9 billion.

While the lecture is well presented, certain statements are presented as fact without any supporting references. In the attached article (see 'Additional Resources' below), we point out that these statements contradict a considerable volume of published peer-reviewed scientific and technical literature. IPNI welcomes discussion of issues associated with phosphorus fertilizer use, and the opportunity to clarify public perception of those issues. Applying the right source of phosphorus fertilizers at the right rate, right time and right place is consistent with maintenance of an appropriate level of mycorrhizae in agricultural soils.

Additional Resources

IPNI Response to Dr. Hijri's TalkSize: 0.17 MB