How does fertilizer affect the phosphorus cycle?

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Mar 30, 2016

Answer:

Many fertilizers are phosphate-based and this accumulates in the soil (and enters waterways), affecting the phosphorus cycle in multiple ways.

Explanation:

Many fertilizers are phosphate-based and this accumulates in the soil (and enters waterways), affecting the phosphorus cycle in multiple ways.

If we look at the phosphorus cycle shown below, we can see that there are processes involving soil, water, and living organisms:
https://apbiologywiki.wikispaces.com/Ecology

When phosphate-based fertilizers are used, they potentially enter the soil and water through run-off, as shown in the image below. Phosphates are transferred to rivers, lakes, and the ocean from agricultural crops, residential lawns, or any other places that use these fertilizers during periods through run-off.

This increase in phosphate in aquatic systems can have harmful effects on aquatic life. Read more about eutrophication here and here.

http://kids.britannica.com/comptons/art-190286/This-diagram-of-the-phosphorus-cycle-shows-how-runoff-from

Phosphate mined for use in fertilizers also enter the cycle during the mining process itself.

To read an open-access academic paper on this topic, click here.

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