- What are the cycles and chemistry associated with Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Sulfur?
- What role do these chemicals play in the chemistry of our planet?
- What is fertilizer and why is it used?
- How are nitrates, phosphates and sulfates measured?
- Beijing Sends Nitrogen Downstream
- Nitrate Levels Rising in Northwestern Pacific Ocean
- Minnesota's sulfate standard to protect wild rice
- Army Corps Tries to Assess Impacts of Sprawling Phosphate Operations in Fla.
- Phosphate fertilizer warning for China
- Feeding the World's Hunger for Phosphorus
- Nixing Nitrate Flow from the Farm
There are many, many websites that explain the cycles of nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur. I suggest you search the Internet and look for interesting links.
- Summary of Cycles
- The Sulfur Cycle
- The Phosphorus Cycle
- The Nitrogen Cycle
- Phosphorus Cycle (video)
- The Nitrogen Cycle
- Example of a Nitrogen Cycle (video)
- A Homeowners Guide to Fertilizer
Take Away (Main) Points
- NKP labels on fertilizers stand for three macro (main) plant nutrients: nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.
- The chemical symbol for Nitrogen is N, for Potassium is K, for Phosphorus is P and for sulfur is S.
- Nitrogen exists as N2, a very stable, triple-bonded molecule that makes up 78% of our air and doesn't react with easily.
- Plants require nitrogen in the form of nitrates or ammonia to grow. They cannot use nitrogen gas.
- Before Fritz Haber demonstrated a chemical process to make ammonia farmers had to rely on natural processes to return nitrogen to the soil such as bacteria in the roots of legumes (beans and peas).
- Plants also require phosphorus but it exists primarily as a very, very insoluble mineral in the Earth's crust.
- Sulfuric acid is manufactured from sulfur so that it can be used primarily to dissolve phosphate minerals to make fertilizer.
- Too much fertilizers can run off into our waters causing algae blooms (over growth of algae).
- We need to know a little bit about sulfur, nitrogen and phosphorus to understand discussions about soil fertility.