Phosphorus: A Prerequisite for Producing Food

Without phosphorus, every living thing on earth would be dead. Plants, animals, and microbes alike utterly depend on access to phosphorus. Phosphorus is at the core of every strand of DNA and RNA, holding together the molecules that oversee the development of our body and, to a great extent, our mind. Phosphorus is a prerequisite for producing food. Phosphorus is a finite element, and it has no subsitute. Phosphate rock is the source of phosphorus. The total efficiency of phosphorus along its value chain from mining of phosphate rock to the amount consumed is relatively low (less than 10%), resulting in high losses and causing environmental pollution. Hence, sustainably managing this vital element is essential yet complex and requires engagement of scientists, practioners, policy makers and NGOs in a transdisciplinary process.

The Global TraPs project (2010 – 2014) provided a roadmap for sustainable phosphorus management. Thus, the present book The Phosphorus Source Book: Scientific, Practice-oriented, and Transdisciplinary perspectives will undertake a comprehensive view on anthropogenic phosphorus use and the natural phosphorus cycle for phosphorus supply and use in the overall context of sustainable phosphorus management. Phosphorus policy perspectives and the need for innovations through engagement with all stakeholders in a mutual learning process will be an integral part of this book.

Another book project of the department of knowledge and communication management is The Phosphorus Factbook: A Framework of Mid-and Long-term Supply Security.

Dr. Amit Roy

Agricultural Specialist, Chair, Sasakawa Africa Association, Former President & CEO IFDC

Prof. em. Dr. Dipl.-Math. Roland W. Scholz

Prof. em. ETH Zürich (Resilient Human- Environmental Resources Systems, ETH, Fraunhofer, IASS)

Simon J. Hoefer

Editorial assistant

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