350 Years of Phosphorus with Dr. Andrew Sharpley and Dr. Don Flaten


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“Celebrating the 350th Anniversary of Phosphorus Discovery: A Conundrum of Deficiency and Excess” with Drs. Andrew Sharpley, Helen Jarvie, Don Flaten, and Peter Kleinman.

350 years ago, German alchemist Hennig Brandt accidentally discovered phosphorus during his quest to find the philosopher’s stone. As it turns out, phosphorus can’t turn base metals into gold, but it is one of the most important elements for sustaining life on earth. Join us for this episode as we discuss the discovery of phosphorus, its uses, how we harvest it, and interesting facts about its storied past.

Listen to find answers to questions such as:

  • How was phosphorus originally discovered?
  • Why was it called the “Devil’s Element”?
  • What do urine, guano, and human bones have to do with mining phosphorus methods?
  • How can we efficiently and wisely manage phosphorus today?

If you would like more information about this topic, this episode’s paper is freely available here: https://doi.org/10.2134/jeq2018.05.0170

This article is always freely available.

If you would like to find transcripts for this episode or sign up for our newsletter, please visit our website: https://fieldlabearth.libsyn.com/

Contact us at podcast@sciencesocieties.org or on Twitter @FieldLabEarth if you have comments, questions, or suggestions for show topics, and if you want more content like this don’t forget to subscribe.

If you would like to reach out to Andrew, you can find him here: Sharpley@uark.edu https://experts.uark.edu/experts/2114/andrew-sharpley

If you would like to reach out to Don, you can find him here: Don.Flaten@umanitoba.ca Twitter: @donflaten1

If you would like to reach out to Helen, you can find her here: hpj@ceh.ac.uk https://www.ceh.ac.uk/staff/helen-jarvie

If you would like to reach out to Peter, you can find him here: peter.kleinman@ars.usda.gov


CEU Quiz: http://www.agronomy.org/education/classroom/classes/819

JEQ Special Section: https://acsess.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/15372537/2019/48/5#heading-level-1-1

Phosphorus Week Blogs

“The Discovery and General Uses of Phosphorus” by Andrew Sharpley: https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/the-discovery-and-general-uses-of-phosphorus

“Why is Phosphorus Needed on Farms?” by Peter Kleinman: https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/why-is-phosphorus-needed-on-farms

“What are the Sources of Phosphorus for Crops?” by Don Flaten: https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/what-are-sources-of-phosphorus-for-crops

“What are the Challenges Regarding Phosphorus Use?” by Helen Jarvie: https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/what-are-the-challenges-regarding-phosphorus-use

“Ten Things We All Can Do to Manage Phosphorus Better” by Don Flaten: https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/ten-things-we-can-do-to-manage-phosphorus-better

4R Nutrient Stewardship from The Fertilizer Institute: https://www.nutrientstewardship.com/4rs/

SERA-17: https://sera17.org/

4R Plus: https://www.4rplus.org/

Discovery farms: https://aaes.uark.edu/centers-and-programs/discovery-farm-program/

Field, Lab, Earth is copyrighted to the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.

62 episodes