The role of phosphorous in the environment. phosphorous cycle sources of phosphorous applications of phosphorous eutrophication

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1 The role of phosphorous in the environment phosphorous cycle sources of phosphorous applications of phosphorous eutrophication

2 The Phosphorus Cycle

3 The Phosphorus Cycle The phosphorus cycle is the biogeochemical cycle that describes the movement of phosphorus through the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Unlike many other biogeochemical cycles, the atmosphere does not play a significant role in the movements of phosphorus, because phosphorus and phosphorus-based compounds are usually solids at the typical ranges of temperature and pressure found on Earth. Phosphorus moves slowly from deposits on land and in sediments, to living organisms, and than much more slowly back into the soil and water sediment. The phosphorus cycle is the slowest of the matter cycles.

4 Naturally Occurring Phosphorus Phosphorus normally occurs in nature as PO 4 3-, which is called orthophosphate. Most phosphates are found as salts in ocean sediments or in rocks. Over time, geologic processes can bring ocean sediments to land, and weathering will carry terrestrial ions to the ocean. Plants absorb phosphates from the soil and they proceed up the food chain. After death, the animal or plant decays, and the phosphates are returned to the soil. Runoff may carry them back to the ocean or they may be reincorporated into rock.

5 Biological Phosphorus The primary biological importance of phosphates is as a component of nucleotides, which serve as energy storage within cells (ATP) or when linked together, form the nucleic acids DNA and RNA. Phosphorus is also found in bones, whose strength is derived from calcium phosphate, and in phospholipids (found in all biological membranes). Phosphates move quickly through plants and animals; however, the processes that move them through the soil or ocean are very slow, making the phosphorus cycle overall one of the slowest biogeochemical cycles.

6 Fertilizer Human influences on the phosphate cycle come mainly from the introduction and use of commercial synthetic fertilizers. The phosphate is obtained through mining of certain deposits of calcium phosphate called apatite. Huge quantities of sulfuric acid are used in the conversion of the phosphate rock into a fertilizer product called "super phosphate". Plants may not be able to utilize all of the phosphate fertilizer applied, as a consequence, much of it is lost form the land through the water run-off. The phosphate in the water is eventually precipitated as sediments at the bottom of the body of water. In certain lakes and ponds this may be redissolved and recyled as a problem nutrient.

7 Calcium apatite Apatite is a group of phosphate minerals, usually referring to hydroxylapatite, fluoroapatite, and chloroapatite, named for high concentrations of OH -, F -, or Cl - ions, respectively, in the crystal, written as Ca 5 (PO 4 ) 3 (OH, F, Cl). Apatite is one of few minerals that are produced and used by biological micro-environmental systems. Hydroxylapatite is the major component of tooth enamel. Bone material is (Ca 5 (PO 4 ) 3 ) 2 (CO 3 ). Fluoroapatite is more resistant to acid attack than hydroxyapatite. For this reason, toothpaste typically contains a source of f luoride anions (e.g. sodium fluoride or sodium monofluorophosphate). Fluoridated water allows exchange in the teeth of fluoride ions for hydroxyl groups in apatite.

8 Phosphate Rock as a Resource Phosphate rock is the only economical source of phosphorus for manufacturing phosphatic fertilizers and chemicals. Deposits are widely distributed throughout the world and are generally mined by using surface mining methods. The United States is the world's largest producer of phosphate rock, with annual production of about 45 Mt of marketable rock, accounting for more than 30 percent of total world production. Florida and North Carolina produce the largest amounts, with a combined 85 percent of the U.S. output, followed by Idaho and Utah. Phosphate rock, when used in an untreated form, is not very soluble and provides little available phosphorus to plants, except in some moist acidic soils. Treating phosphate rock with sulfuric acid makes phosphoric acid, the basic material for producing most phosphatic fertilizers.

9 Phosphate Rock as a Resource Phosphatic fertilizers include diammonium phosphate (DAP) and monoammonium phosphate (MAP), which are produced by reacting phosphoric acid with ammonia, and triple superphosphate, produced by treating phosphate rock with phosphoric acid. More than 90 percent of the phosphate rock mined in the United States is used to produce about 12 Mt/yr of phosphoric acid. Domestic consumption of phosphate in fertilizers has averaged 4.5 Mt/yr since The United States supplies most of the phosphate fertilizers in the world. Overall, more than 50 percent of the phosphoric acid produced in the United States is exported as finished fertilizers or commercial acid. The United States accounts for more than 50 percent of global interregional trade in phosphates; 90 percent in MAP; and 75 percent in DAP. The United States also imports some phosphate rock for processing -- about 1.8 Mt/yr.

10 Human Influences on the Phosphate Cycle

11 Phosphorus Run Off Eutrophication Phosphorus is recognized as one of the major nutrients contributing to the increased eutrophication of lakes and other natural waters. This has led to many water quality problems including increased purification costs, interference with the recreational and conservation value of impoundments, loss of livestock and the possible sub-lethal effects of algal toxins on humans using eutrophic water supplies for drinking. The International Conference on the Protection of the North Sea has recommended a 50% reduction in the input of phosphorus-containing compounds, while the EU Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive will require an effluent standard of no more than 1mg/l phosphate for large treatment works.

12 Eutrophication Algal blooms can be destructive, but they are not unnatural. In fact, a natural cycle where populations rise and crash, such as in the Baltic Sea, can be a part of a healthy marine ecosystem. In this case regulation is desirable but reversal measures, if excessive, can be counterproductive. Thus, the aim of restoration efforts must then be not to eliminate the blooms, but return them to their original frequency.

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15 Biological Effects of Eutrophication Phosphorus ferilizes small Floating aquatic plants Sunlight Light penetration is reduced Reduced submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) Plants die. When they decompose the water is depleted of O 2. Fish die because of lack of O 2

16 Phosphorous Removal Phosphate removal is currently achieved largely by chemical precipitation, which is both expensive and increases sludge volumes by up to 40%. An alternative, biotechnological, approach is that of 'Enhanced Biological Phosphate Removal' ('EBPR') which utilises the ability of some microorganisms to accumulate phosphate (as polyphosphate) in excess of their normal metabolic requirements. EBPR systems, although economically-attractive, require anaerobic pre-treatment zones and display inconsistencies in performance requiring either periodic organic matter supplementation and/or chemical 'polishing' to meet compliance limits.

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