Phosphorus, a limiting nutrient of biosphere, exists as dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP), dissolved organic phosphorus (DOP), particulate inorganic phosphorus (PIP) and particulate organic phosphorus (POP) in water of soil as well as ponds, lakes, etc. The only available phosphorus for plants are DIP, while the other forms need to be converted to DIP by the decomposing microorganisms of the soil. The heavy metals (such as arsenic and chromium), which are the menace of both terrestrial and aquatic environment, are taken up by the plants and animals causing toxicity at physiological level. However, the metal (Cr and As) toxicity can be mitigated competitively by phosphorus, since the latter is a structural analogue. Since, phosphorus is an essential nutrient, plants prefer it over Cr or As. At the same time, if excess of phosphorus is applied in the soil in the form of fertilisers, it gets discharged into the water bodies (ponds, lakes, etc.) through agricultural runoff, causing eutrophication followed by harming the health of the water bodies. This can be further mitigated by employing the phenomenon of luxury uptake by the aquatic plants such as Pistia stratiotes.
Part of the book: Contemporary Topics about Phosphorus in Biology and Materials