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Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering

Front. Agr. Sci. Eng.    2019, Vol. 6 Issue (4) : 332-340
Phosphorus use efficiency and fertilizers: future opportunities for improvements
Martin BLACKWELL1(), Tegan DARCH1, Richard HASLAM2
1. Department of Sustainable Agriculture Sciences, Rothamsted Research, North Wyke, Okehampton, EX20 2SB, UK
2. Department of Plant Sciences, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, AL5 2JQ, UK
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The continued supply of phosphate fertilizers that underpin global food production is an imminent crisis. The rock phosphate deposits on which the world depends are not only finite, but some are contaminated, and many are located in geopolitically unstable areas, meaning that fundamental changes will have to take place in order to maintain food production for a growing global population. No single solution exists, but a combination of approaches to phosphorus management is required not only to extend the lifespan of the remaining non-renewable rock phosphate reserves, but to result in a more efficient, sustainable phosphorus cycle. Solutions include improving the efficiency of fertilizer applications to agricultural land, alongside a better understanding of phosphorus cycling in soil-plant systems, and the interactions between soil physics, chemistry and biology, coupled with plant traits. Opportunities exist for the development of plants that can access different forms of soil phosphorus (e.g., organic phosphorus) and that use internal phosphorus more efficiently. The development of different sources of phosphorus fertilizers are inevitably required given the finite nature of the rock phosphate supplies. Clear opportunities exist, and it is now important that a concerted effort to make advances in phosphorus use efficiency is prioritized.

Keywords organic phosphorus      phosphorus fertilizer      phosphorus use efficiency      rock phosphate     
Corresponding Authors: Martin BLACKWELL   
Just Accepted Date: 30 July 2019   Online First Date: 23 September 2019    Issue Date: 29 November 2019
 Cite this article:   
Martin BLACKWELL,Tegan DARCH,Richard HASLAM. Phosphorus use efficiency and fertilizers: future opportunities for improvements[J]. Front. Agr. Sci. Eng. , 2019, 6(4): 332-340.
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Country Mine production in 2018/kt Current reserves/kt Years of reserves remaining
China 140000 3200000 23
India 1600 46000 29
United States 27000 1000000 37
Algeria 1300 2200000 1692
Australia 3000 1100000 367
Brazil 5400 1700000 315
Egypt 4600 1300000 283
Finland 1000 1000000 1000
Israel 3900 67000 17
Jordan 8800 1000000 114
Kazakhstan 1600 260000 163
Mexico 2000 30000 15
Morocco and Western Sahara 33000 50000000 1515
Peru 3100 400000 129
Russia 13000 600000 46
Saudi Arabia 5200 1400000 269
Senegal 1500 50000 33
South Africa 2100 1500000 714
Syria 100 1800000 18000
Togo 850 30000 35
Tunisia 3300 100000 30
Uzbekistan 900 100000 111
Vietnam 3300 30000 9
Other countries 1300 770,000 592
World total (rounded) 270000 70000000 259
Tab.1  World mine production of rock phosphate and current known reserves in thousand tonnes. Years of reserves remaining are calculated by dividing known reserves by the latest annual rate of mine production[1]
Fig.1  Response of barley grain biomass to soil phosphorus additions. Curved lines are the best fit at 95% confidence intervals. The dashed and solid vertical lines represent the phosphorus additions required to achieve 90% and 95% of the maximum yield, respectively.
Fig.2  Effect of pH on the concentration of total phosphorus (TP), reactive phosphorus (RP), and phytase labile phosphorus extracted in ultrapure water.
Fig.3  Leaf lipid remodeling in response to growth at low soil phosphorus. PL, phospholipids; PLD, phospholipiase D; PLC, phospholipiase C; NPC5, non-specific phospholipiase C5; PA, phosphatidic acid; PAH, phosphatidic acid phosphohydrolase; DAG, diacylglycerol; MGDG, Monogalatosyldiglycerol; MGDGS, monogalactosyl diacyglycerol synthase; DGDG, digalactosyldiacyglycerol; DGDGS, digalactosyldiacyglycerol synthase; SQD2, sulfolipid synthase; SQDG, sulphoquinovosyldiglyceride.
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