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Physiology and Metabolism of Phosphate and Its Compounds

  • R. L. Bieleski
  • I. B. Ferguson
Part of the Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology book series (PLANT, volume 15)

Abstract

The distribution of phosphorus1 in the world, unlike that of all other elements but carbon, is dominated by the present and past activities of living organisms. Thus it was first isolated as an element from that preeminently biological fluid, urine, by the Arabian alchemists in the 12th century and then by H. Brand in 1669; while the next source to be discovered was bone, in 1770 (Corbridge 1978). It is widely distributed in the Earth’s crust, where it comprises 0.1% by weight of the elements present. Igneous deposits are known, but most of the phosphate used by man has been formed either as guano and its end-product, phosphatized coral, or as sedimentary deposits laid down under marine conditions in a combination of biological and physicochemical processes. In each case, the key event in formation of the deposit has been the ability of living organisms to scavenge phosphate from their surroundings, so that the concentration within the organism is increased one thousand fold or more (see Sect. 2). With guano-based products, phosphate has passed through a long food chain (marine microorganism → crustacean → fish → sea bird) and has finally been drawn into one place as excreta and as fish and bird remains.

Keywords

Phytic Acid Turnover Time Phosphate Uptake Phosphate Ester Phosphatidyl Glycerol 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin-Heidelberg 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. L. Bieleski
  • I. B. Ferguson

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