Of the multiple global problems that we are facing in the anthropocene, phosphorus may be one of the more confusing. Some say we're about to hit peak phosphorus, others that it will last a few centuries longer. Then again, we shouldn't really dig up all the geological reserves and pour them into our waterways, because that will lead to eutrophication disasters.
In either case, it would be good to know where the phosphorus is and which way it flows. Based on a better knowledge foundation, we can then perhaps build a more circular phosphorus economy.
All of which is explained in more detail in my latest feature which is out now:
Where is all the phosphorus?
Current Biology Volume 27, Issue 21, pR1141–R1144, 6 November 2017
Restricted access to full text and PDF download
(will become open access one year after publication)
The alchemist Hennig Brand discovers phosphorus, as imagined by Joseph Wright of Derby. Image source
(I used this pic the last time I wrote about phosphorus in Curr Biol, back in 2010, so I couldn't use it again in the feature)