Navigation Links
Dietary shifts driving up phosphorus use
Date:1/17/2013

Dietary changes since the early 1960s have fueled a sharp increase in the amount of mined phosphorus used to produce the food consumed by the average person over the course of a year, according to a new study led by researchers at McGill University.

Between 1961 and 2007, rising meat consumption and total calorie intake underpinned a 38% increase in the world's per capita "phosphorus footprint," the researchers conclude in a paper published online in Environmental Research Letters.

The findings underscore a significant challenge to efforts to sustainably manage the supply of mined phosphorus, a non-renewable resource widely used as fertilizer. When phosphorus is lost through agricultural runoff or sewage systems, it can pollute waterways downstream. In addition, because deposits are heavily concentrated in a few countries, global supplies and prices for the resource are vulnerable to geopolitical tensions.

In recent years, many researchers have explored how human activity has altered the phosphorus cycle in the environment and how management of phosphorus could be altered to ensure long-term sustainability. This new study sheds more light, in particular, on how diet choices have affected the intensity of phosphorus use around the world.

"Our results demonstrate that changes in diet can be a significant part of the strategy for enhancing sustainability of phosphorus management," says lead author Genevive Metson, a doctoral student in McGill's Department of Natural Resource Sciences. "In particular, reduced consumption of meat, and especially beef, in countries with large phosphorus footprints could put a big dent in demand for mined phosphorus since it takes many kilograms of feed, which is fertilized, to produce a kilogram of meat."

Metson and her co-authors, Prof. Elena M. Bennett of the McGill School of the Environment and Arizona State University Prof. James J. Elser, computed phosphorus-footprint values based on annual country-by-country diet composition data from the Food and Agriculture Organization. They calculated the total amount of phosphorus applied to food crops for humans and animals by using fertilizer-application rates available through the International Fertilizer Association, among other sources. The authors also examined the statistical relationship between economic development and phosphorus-footprint values, and developed scenarios to consider the relative importance of diet changes.

"It is really remarkable how much influence changes in diet have had on our demand for this very limited resource," Bennett says. "As research in this area proceeds, it would also be interesting to learn how much of the phosphorus used in food production is able to be recycled and how much is currently reused. Food waste and human waste generally aren't reused today, but can be a valuable resource if turned into fertilizer or compost for use on nearby agricultural fields."


'/>"/>

Contact: Chris Chipello
christopher.chipello@mcgill.ca
514-398-4201
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Zebrafish research shows how dietary fat regulates cholesterol absorption
2. Neuroprotective dietary supplements for chronic spinal cord injury
3. Research provides new insights into dogs natural feeding behavior and finds they target a daily dietary intake that is high in fat
4. New health-economic model shows benefits of boosting dietary calcium intake
5. Warming causes more extreme shifts of the Southern Hemispheres largest rain band
6. Surprising demographic shifts in endangered monkey population challenge conservation expectations
7. Wind pushes plastics deeper into oceans, driving trash estimates up
8. Changing climate, not tourism, seems to be driving decline in chinstrap-penguin populations
9. When the soil holds not enough phosphorus
10. Helping pigs to digest phosphorus
11. The Phosphorus Index: Changes afoot
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... BANGALORE, India and LONDON ... Infosys Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a ... ), and Onegini today announced a partnership to ... banking solutions.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ... banks to provide their customers enhanced security to ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  , ... global gait biometrics market is expected to grow ... 2016-2020. Gait analysis generates multiple variables ... to compute factors that are not or cannot ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... March 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has completed ... Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned to the ... original technical leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, ... Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of Software and ... company. Dr. Bready served as CEO of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... to bring innovative medical technologies, services and solutions to the healthcare market. The ... implementation of various distribution, manufacturing, sales and marketing strategies that are necessary to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled a ... susceptible to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination ... The new test has already been incorporated into ... cancer types. Over 230 clinical trials ... pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical , an ... designed to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that ... Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and ... cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is ... inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 ... for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: