Water, Carbon, and Phosphorus Footprint Concerns in the Food Industry

  • Suresh D. SharmaEmail author
  • Arpan R. Bhagat
  • Salvatore Parisi
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Molecular Science book series (BRIEFSMOLECULAR)


This chapter discusses recent environmental concerns of the food consumer. The expansion of human populations worldwide and other factors have progressively caused the continuous increase of lands for agricultural purposes, with consequent deforestation in developing areas above all. At the same time, the trend of produced foods per area of agricultural land has been constantly increased with the consequent enhancement of the growth of human beings, although the amount of cultivated lands has been reduced in the last forty years. Food production (or food overproduction) is often correlated with environmental concerns because of the main role of three resources and their increasing consumption by food industries: water, energy, and anti-pest agents. More than a single food or food category may be interested in this way. For these reasons, three peculiar indicators—water footprint, carbon footprint (concerning the energetic consumption), and phosphorus footprint (with reference to pesticides and other similar chemical compounds)—are popular at present. However, are these footprints good indicators? This chapter discusses advantages and risks associated with these variables by a broader perspective.


Carbon footprint Global warming Greenhouse gas emission Pesticide Phosphorus footprint Pollution Water footprint 



Carbon dioxide equivalent


Carbon footprint


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


Gas chromatography


Greenhouse gas




Nitrous oxide


Non-governmental organisation




Phosphorus footprint


Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil


United Kingdom


Water footprint


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suresh D. Sharma
    • 1
    Email author
  • Arpan R. Bhagat
    • 2
  • Salvatore Parisi
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity Park, State CollegeUSA
  2. 2.Saputo Dairy Foods USA, LLCDallasUSA
  3. 3.Al-Balqa Applied UniversityAl-SaltJordan

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