Phosphorus, Food, and Our Future

Karl A. Wyant, Jessica R. Corman, James J. Elser

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Phosphorus is essential to all life. A critical component of fertilizers, Phosphorus currently has no known substitute in agriculture. Without it, crops cannot grow. With too much of it, waterways are polluted. Across the globe, social, political, and economic pressures are influencing the biogeochemical cycle of phosphorus. A better understanding of this non-renewable resource and its impacts on the environment is critical to conserving our global supply and increasing agricultural productivity. Most of the phosphorus-focused discussion within the academic community is highly fragmented. This book brings together the necessary multi-disciplinary perspectives to build a cohesive knowledge base of phosphorus sustainability. The book is a direct continuation of processes associated with the first international conference on sustainable phosphorus held in the United States, the Frontiers in Life Sciences: Sustainable Phosphorus Summit, though it is not a book of conference proceedings; rather, the book is part of an integrated, coordinated process that builds on the momentum of the Summit. The first chapter introduces the biological and chemical necessity of phosphorus. The subsequent ten chapters explore different facets of phosphorus sustainability and the role of policy on future global phosphorus supplies. The final chapter synthesizes all of the emerging views contained in the book, drawing out the leading dilemmas and opportunities for phosphorus sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages256
ISBN (Electronic)9780190267926
ISBN (Print)9780199916832
StatePublished - Aug 8 2013


  • Agriculture
  • Fertilizer
  • Non-renewable resource
  • Phosphorus supplies
  • Phosphorus sustainability
  • Sustainable phosphorus


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