Environment

“Gradually Scarce Fire Element, or Life’s Nutrient Foundation”

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Readers will know that phosphorous, also known as the pyrotechnic element, is a non-renewable natural resource. Phosphorus elements are present in limited quantities on Earth. Once that amount is used up, it cannot be replaced.

But phosphorus plays a very important role in the life of living organisms, and it is a foundation of nutrients necessary for living organisms to survive. For example, for plants to thrive, nitrogen, Phosphorus and potassium are quite important, and only when there is enough of these elements can we make food and get the energy we need. Nitrogenous fertilizers used to feed plants can be produced mainly from atmospheric nitrogen. There is even 78 percent nitrogen in the atmosphere, so there is no need to worry about not having enough. What is potassium? salt compounds, There is no need to worry because you can still get plenty of it from minerals that are high in potassium. According to estimates, even if we extract and use potassium elements at the current rate, we can calmly continue to use them for the next 600 years. But the problem is phosphorus. We will continue to use phosphorus forests at the current rate. Experts predict that if the agricultural land increases its yield and manure, in the near future, these magical elements may be completely exhausted.

Due to population growth, phosphorus resources are being depleted the most. As the world’s population is increasing day by day, the need for sources of supply is increasing. In order to cover this increased amount, they have to expand their food production operations. Phosphorus is quite important for the world’s food production, so what will happen if these elements are depleted? . .? Is there any way to conserve phosphorus sources? . .?

Phosphorus is an extremely important foundation for the life cycle of every organism. The genetic DNA (DNA) in our cells, RNA and cell membranes are made up of these phosphorous molecules. If the cells produce the energy needed to survive, these boys will have it again. The small energy molecules called ATP produced by mitochondria are formed based on these phosphates.

(Additional meaning. It would be more appropriate to say ‘Phosphate – Phosphate’ instead of saying ‘Phosphorus’. This is because Phosphorus cannot be found separately in nature. Phosphorus is an element, and Phosphorus is an electrolytic compound (Anion Compound) that combines Phosphorus with oxygen. In the article, we will use both types appropriately.)

Plants, which are the base of the food chain, mainly need phosphorus for their plant cells to multiply and multiply. In other words, cell division is to grow. If there is no phosphorus, which is needed only in plant cells, growth stops and the leaves become dull and dry. In terms of agriculture, plant yield is no longer increasing. The crops are no longer big.

Plants get the nutrients they need to grow from the soil. Including the phosphorus forest. Phosphorus naturally returns to the soil when plants die and break down. This process is called the ‘fire cycle’ known to chemists. In this way, phosphorus elements are balanced on the earth.

But when it comes to farming, things are different. Plants grown on farms rely on the soil to survive, just like natural plants. But every time these farms harvest, the phosphorus from the plants is removed from the plants and cannot return to the soil. These harvested crops must be sent back to those who will not consume them. Then its original natural chain deteriorates and the phosphorus absorbed from the soil cannot be returned to its place. People eat those crops. After that, the phosphorus contained in the food is discarded from the body as waste. So, phosphorus enters the sewage system mixed with waste.

In the past, farmers used compost, Human excrement is added to the soil to make phosphorus available to plants in a natural way. human and animal waste; Meat, fish, fruit, leftovers and other organic wastes are used as manure for agriculture. There are still many people who do that. However, since the middle of the 19th century, the world’s population has grown exponentially, and food needs have become very high.

They had to change the use of fertilisers. In order to be able to use this, many phosphorus mines have to be built and dug out, so the amount of phosphorus consumed worldwide is around 150 million tons every year.

Phosphorus cannot be produced in a laboratory and can only be found in a natural rock called phosphate rock. It is said that if all the phosphate rocks in the world were collected and the phosphorus extracted from them, there would be an average of 68 billion tons. But that amount is not evenly distributed around the world. According to the current geopolitical situation of the world, it is not easy to release.

Phosphorus fertilizers, also known as phosphorous fertilizers, are produced from the mining of phosphate rock as mentioned above. The obtained raw materials are modified and transformed using strong acids such as sulfuric acid. It is called ‘treat’ in chemistry. Then turn it into manure. (The rock fragments obtained by doing this are often used as manure.)

The country with the largest amount of phosphorus resources in the world is Morocco. 70% of the world’s total phosphorus resources are in Morocco. Other Chinese South African countries including Russia Jordan, Egypt and Syria also produce phosphorus, but only about three percent on average. Although Morocco has a lot of phosphorus, it is not the largest producer of phosphorus because of the current domestic political situation. In fact, the main production of Phosphorus is China, the leading actor. But if China continues to produce at its current rate, all phosphorus forests will be depleted in the next 35 years. Like China, the United States is only 30 years away. These estimates are based on 2009 research. Now it’s even less when it’s time to post more.

I think there are people who have heard the term Peak Phosphorus. In 2009 mentioned above, A term introduced in global environmental change research. The time when the pyrotechnics are in full swing means the final stage of production of grade-level phosphors. According to the research, that time is the year 2033.

Beyond that period, the ability to produce phosphorus will be significantly reduced, and the phosphorus that can be produced will not be of the same quality as it is now. After that, the cost of mining the phosphorus forest will be much higher than the profit. So, if the production rate will decrease, even if it can be produced, the price of fertilizer will increase exponentially.

90 percent of all phosphate rock currently mined is used primarily for food production. If we continue to use it at this rate, the next fifty years, Experts estimate that within a century, all the phosphorus resources on earth may be exhausted. But the increasing population, The demand for phosphorus is increasing day by day due to the increased demand for food. In this way, it is in a position where all the phos forests can be covered in a time that is closer than expected.

Phosphorus is essential for forests to continue producing food. In a way that doesn’t make sense, we have to make long-term use of phosphorus in agriculture. need and support; output and consumption In terms of economics, demand and supply – Supply and demand. . . . On the other hand, this problem can be solved. For example, the side that does not support the need, If the phosphorus forest is to be produced, it will be possible to find and research other natural resources that can enter the phosphorus forest area. After that, the phosphorus forests can be preserved as much as is appropriate in the mining section and the life span can be extended until the phosphorus forests are exhausted.

On the other side, if you need phosphorus, there are solutions. One of them is to reduce the rate of fertilizer use on farms. Agricultural industries in many countries, including Myanmar, are affected by the amount of crops, Fertilizers are used excessively to improve the size and growth rate. Relying on natural soil and using fertilizers only as support causes unnecessary excess losses. To put it in perspective, only about 20 percent of what is currently used in agriculture is actually needed to grow and develop crops. The remaining 80 percent goes into the drainage systems of the fields and is wasted. In addition, when the soil with excessive phosphorus content seeps into the ground, the groundwater source is also affected. If the farmers When using a reduced amount of fertilizer, it can be quite convenient if we can cross plant species with good phosphorus absorption and consumption when planting hybrid crops. In this case, the yield will not increase, and phosphorus will not be wasted in large amounts.

In addition to these methods, there are other ways to reuse phosphorus. As mentioned above, some plantations are intended for use in animal husbandry, so when the plants are harvested, half of them return to the soil and feed the animals. However, in soils that are already rich in phosphorus, when soil fertility is added to the soil that is already sufficient, it becomes an excess of phosphorus and can harm the environment again. On the other hand, in areas with low levels of phosphorus, if we reduce the amount of fertilizer and rely on waste materials for cultivation, the crop yield may decrease again without getting the necessary phosphorus. Because of this, many conditions have to be taken into account when using natural fertilizers.

Almost 100% of the phosphorus in the food we eat is mixed with waste and thrown away. Most of that is excreted in the urine. Most human waste ends up in urban sewage systems. Because of this, it is still not possible to reuse it from there. Currently, only about 10 percent of human waste can be reused in agriculture. Another way is the crop residues from the farms. rotten sheep Household kitchen waste and natural waste can be reused as a source of phosphorus in agriculture. However, it will take many years to be widely used in agriculture on a global scale.

Regardless of the method, it is true that there is still no way to replace phosphorus fertilizers. For this reason, in order to reduce the amount of wastage that we throw away from agriculture, It is important to be able to use the available resources sparingly. If there are agricultural activities near you, If your acquaintances include those who work in agriculture, please ask them to pass on the things mentioned in this article. Only in these ways will we be able to protect natural resources as much as possible. .

References

– Dana Cordell, Jan-Olof Drangert, & Stuart White. (2009, February 11). The story of phosphorus: Global food security and food for thought. ScienceDirect.

– Nature Plants. (2022, September 15). Approaching peak phosphorus. Nature News.

– Misachi, J. (2018, March 23). Countries with the largest phosphate reserves. WorldAtlas.

– Why phosphorus is important. NSW Department of Primary Industries. (1970, January 1).

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