Balancing phosphorus levels in crop lands is a key factor that is often overlooked in discussions of global food security, according to a paper published in the International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology.
Current global issues include carbon footprints, water resources and climate change. However, the non-renewable element phosphorus for plant growth is often overlooked in the global context.
Biologist John Lott of McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues there and at the University of Sydney, Australia, point out that when food scarcity increases, instability in society increases. Given that the majority of the food consumed is from cereals and legumes, the phosphorus cycle is a critical element of food security. Phosphorus is essential for crop plant growth, but soils become depleted as it is removed from the land when the grain and seeds are harvested.