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Phosphorus ( P ) – Soon a Limiting Factor for Food Production and Life?

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Лекция была проведена в рамках KOEPPEN International Seminar Series.


  • Санкт-Петербургский государственный университет;
  • Российско-германская магистерская программа "Полярные и морские исследования" (Master program for polar and marine sciences).

The element Phosphorus (P) is among Nitrogen (N) and Carbon ( C ) the most important nutrient for the growth of floral and faunal organisms and thus the production of organic matter on land and in the sea.  While there is an ample supply of N and C in the atmosphere - which are introduced to the biosphere by the processes of nitrogen fixation and photosynthesis – P comes from geological deposits, which are of marine origin, mostly stemming from marine sedimentary processes combined with marine transgressions over shallow lowering areas.  With the agricultural revolution in the late 19th century and particularly with industrial production of Ammonium from molecular N from the atmosphere with the Haber-Bosch-Procedure early in the 20th century the exploitation of the geological P-deposit increased with an ever growing use of fertilizer after World War II.

The lecture will present:

  • brief chemistry of P, its role in organism `s metabolism;
  • the forming of phosphorites;
  • the mineral cycle of P;
  • locations of deposits and their P loads;
  • local and global consumption of P in fertilizer;
  • ideas on how to recycle P and to use it more efficiently.

Professor von Bodungen coordinates Module 5 Processes in the coastal zone and environmental management at the POMOR and holds lectures and seminars on Eutrophication, monitoring, assessment, coastal zone management.