Fertilizers, food and environment

  • J. M. Igual
  • C. Rodríguez-Barrueco
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Plant and Soil Sciences book series (DPSS, volume 102)


Although phosphoric fertilizers will continue to play a major role in intensive agriculture, depletion of natural resources and long-term unsustainability necessitate alternative strategies be investigated and implemented to buffer against food insecurity and environmental degradation. Phosphorus is not a renewable resource and its future use in agriculture will be impacted by declining availability and increased cost. Moreover, the striking increase in the use of fertilizers by intensive agriculture practices has led to degradation of air and water quality. This paper offers an overview on the sources and production process of phosphate fertilizers, the sources of environmental contamination due to their production and use, and finally focuses on the use of phosphate-solubilizing bacteria as an alternative to avoid the excessive use of such fertilizers.

Key words

biofertilizers environmental contamination fertilization food production phosphate-solubilizing bacteria phosphorus 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abelson P H 1999 A potential phosphate crisis. Science 283, 2015.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. EEA, European Environment Agency, Denmark 1999 Nutrients in European Ecosystems. Environmental Assessment Report No 4.Google Scholar
  3. EFMA (European Fertilizer Manufacturer Association) 2002 Phosphorus Essential Element for Food Production. Bruxelles.Google Scholar
  4. IFA, International Fertilizer Industry Association, 2000 Fertilizer Indicators. Bull. April. Paris.Google Scholar
  5. Igual J M, Valverde A, Cervantes E and Velázquez E 2001 Phosphate-solubilizing bacteria as inoculants for agriculture: use of updated molecular techniques in their study. Agronomie 21, 561–568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Isherwood K F 1996 The present situation of fertilizer production and use in the world. In Fertilizers and Environment. Ed. C Rodríguez-Barrueco. pp. 13–18. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  7. Martínez-Aguirre A and García-León M 1994 The distribution of U, Th and 226Ra derived from the phosphate fertilizer industries on a estuarian system in southwest Spain. J. Environ Radioactivity 22, 155–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Mortvedt J 1996 Heavy metal contaminants in inorganic and organic fertilizers. Fertil. Res. 43, 55–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Rodríguez H and Fraga R 1999 Phosphate solubilizing bacteria and their role in plant growth promotion. Biotechnol. Adv. 17, 319–339.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Runge-Metzger A 1995 Closing the cycle: obstacles to efficient P management for improved global security. In Phosphorus in the Global Environment. Ed. H Tiessen. pp. 27–42. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, Chichester, UK.Google Scholar
  11. Rutherford P M, Dudas M J and Samek R A 1994 Environmental impacts of phosphogypsum. Sci. Total Env. 149, 1–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Scholten L C and Timmermans C W M 1996 Natural radioactivity in phosphate fertilizers. In Fertilizers and Environment. Ed. C Rodríguez-Barrueco. pp. 171–175. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  13. Subba Rao N S 1993 Biofertilizers in Agriculture and Forestry. Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi; p 242.Google Scholar
  14. Unscear 1982 Ionizing Radiation: Sources and Biological Effects. United Nations, New York.Google Scholar
  15. Vance C P 2001 Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation and Phosphorus Acquisition. Plant Nutrition in a World of Declining Renewable Resources. Plant Physiol. 127, 390–397.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Igual
    • 1
  • C. Rodríguez-Barrueco
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Recursos Naturales y AgrobiologíaCSICSalamancaSpain

Personalised recommendations