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Sustainable Phosphorus

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Phosphorus (P) is a key nutrient for all living beings. Its deficiency in the diet severely compromises human health, and in agriculture it restricts crop productivity in many agroecosystems worldwide, especially in the tropics. The need to feed a growing World population requires more P being applied, but ...

Phosphorus (P) is a key nutrient for all living beings. Its deficiency in the diet severely compromises human health, and in agriculture it restricts crop productivity in many agroecosystems worldwide, especially in the tropics. The need to feed a growing World population requires more P being applied, but the finite dimension of P-ores (rock phosphate reserves) raise the questions of increasing P fertilizer costs and of the sustainability of the current P uses. Phosphorus flows and stores in agriculture and in the environment show losses and inefficient use at almost all steps, including along the food chain. For instance, the overuse of P fertilizers and subsequent losses to surface waters in developed and emerging countries is a key driver of aquatic ecosystem eutrophication, and can thus be harmful for aquatic biodiversity, human health and well-being. As stressed during the Sustainable Phosphorus Summits at Montpellier, France in 2014 and at Kunming, China in 2016, more efficient and sustainable use of P resources is urgently needed at a range of scales, from local to global, and across sectors, e.g., agriculture, food and waste management. This Research Topic gathers papers covering these various issues.


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