What’s the Deal with Phosphorus?

Phosphorus Root (2)
Phosphorus in the Rhyzosphere

Phosphorus Is…

Phosphorus (P) is widely distributed in nature – but mostly in mineral forms that cannot be taken up by plants. Inorganic phosphate rock is the primary commercial source of P fertilizers. The annual demand for P for use in agriculture has been rising nearly twice as fast as the growth of the human population. The availability of rock phosphate is limited globally with the largest sources concentrated in China, Russia, Morocco, and USA. At the current rate of consumption, many scientists believe that a "peak phosphorus use" will occur within the next 30 years, and that global P reserves could be depleted in the next 100 years.

This Matters Because…

Phosphorus is an essential element for plant production and is very important in the development of new plant tissue. Phosphorus is a component of plant nucleic acids, which regulate protein synthesis. Phosphorus is also associated with energy transformations in the plant that promote root growth and budding, hastening plant maturity.

When Plants Aren’t Getting Enough…

Plants deficient in P are stunted in growth and often have an abnormal leaf color. When P is deficient, sugars can accumulate and cause anthocyanin pigments to develop, producing a reddish-purple color. Discoloration symptoms usually only persist when P availability is extremely deficient. However, severe phosphorus deficiency can occur without showing characteristic deficiencies symptoms – and plants typically respond well to moderate available P levels during active growth.

Phos Fertz …

Phosphorus is critical for maximizing plant growth and crop yields, but P fertilization is generally very inefficient. As much 70-90% of P applied to soils can become almost immediately unavailable for plant uptake because P readily transforms or sorbs to soil surfaces. As a result, limited P availability can constrain plant growth even in soils or other media that are heavily fertilized.

Phos Fertz Future…

There is great potential to improve microbial P solubilization, but progress in developing microbial solutions has been historically limited to the identification of single strains through traditional outdated culturing techniques, despite strong demonstrated evidence that microbial consortia are required to maximize P solubilization rates.

The Benefits of Beneficial’s…

Soil bacteria are very important in nutrient cycling and are vital for promoting plant health. Generally, plant growth promotion and development stimulated by beneficial bacteria function in three different ways:
1) Facilitating the uptake of certain nutrients from the soil
2) Synthesizing particular compounds for the plants
3) Decreasing or preventing plant diseases

I Thought We Were Talking About Phosphorus…

Soil microbes play a critical role in solubilizing mineral P, which converts P to forms that plants can take up. This promotes healthy plant growth and enhances resistance to stress. Beneficial bacterial are able to naturally retain more nitrogen, phosphorus, and other micro-nutrients in the plant – root system, thus enhancing release of the nutrients for plant uptake.

Wrap It Up…

Phosphorus and beneficial bacteria are important, really really important to your overall plant growth and vigor. To sustain big yields, make sure your plants are able to uptake plenty of Phosphorus. Check out why we love MAMMOTH P™ to get this job done.