Phosphorus is an important chemical for animals and plants. It is critical for all living organisms. It is the framework that holds DNA and RNA, it is a component of ATP, and is used to build proteins. The phosphorus cycle is different from the others because it doesn't include a gas phase. Plants take up phosphate ions and herbivores eat the plants. Then, omnivores/carnivores eat the animals who contain phosphate. Then the phosphate is absorbed into the animals tissue. Once the plant or animals die, they begin to decay and the phosphate gets put into the ground, where the cycle starts all over again.
Chemical Reactions involved: The phosphorous cycle does not include a gas phase like the other biogeochemical cycles. Although small amounts of phosphoric acid may make their way into the atmosphere, most of the phosphate comes down as a liquid in acid rain. Most phosphorus is found in sedimentary rock as a solid.
Phosphate: PO43- Phosphoric Acid: H3PO3
Organic and Inorganic Components: Some organic components are the animals and plants that contain the phosphorous. Phosphates that end up in the soil from decayed plants and organisms can be considered inorganic. Plants take up the inorganic soil and turn it into organic material where animals and humans are able to consume it. Then the organism will die and the process will start all over.
Human Intervention: Humans contribute to excessive levels of phosphorus by cutting down the tropical rain forests and through the use of fertilizers. Fertilizers can either speed up or mess up the whole entire cycle of phosphorus. Agricultural runoff provides much of the phosphate found in waterways. Humans can alter where the phosphate can be found.