The Phosphorus Cycle
The phosphorous cycle, goes through plants, animals, water, sediments, and rocks. Weathering of rocks causes them to release minerals, such as phosphorus, into the soil and water. Once in the water and soil it is absorbed by plants, which are then consumed by animals. Once the plant or animal dies it releases the element back into the soil after decaying. The phosphate is returned to the plants by bacteria, through a process called mineralisation, that breaks down organic matter into inorganic forms of phosphorus. The elements make their way into ground water and the oceans which are then infused with the sediment.
Chemical Reactions Involved
P4 (s)+502 (g) P4010(s) : Phosphorus reacting with air
Inorganic components in the Phosphorus Cycle
- Organic deposits can be found in Peru, where excretions of birds have accumulated and washed away into the cycle.
- Inorganic deposits of phosphorus occur in the mineral apatite.
Human impact on the Phosphorus Cycle
One huge way that humans impact the phosphorus cycle is that in farming, the plants are taken away from the soil when they die. The plants are not given a chance to decompose and decay back to their elements in the soil. This causes the soil to run out of phosphorus deposits very quickly.