Multiple queens ensure colonies have a steady output of workers.
The spread of tawny crazy ants may be driven, in part, by their need for calcium. The calcium-rich limestone bedrock of the lower U.S. Midwest may provide ideal conditions for populations to explode.
If rolled out worldwide, our method could replace a quarter of all the synthetic nitrogen fertiliser used in agriculture.
Phosphorus was first discovered by boiling down thousands of litres of urine.
We need phosphorus for life, as well as for fertiliser to help plants grow, but raw supplies are limited.
New research suggests that Earth's oxygenation didn't require difficult and complex evolutionary leaps forward.
An open pit phosphate mine. An upcoming shortage of the mineral will threaten global food security.
Global phosphate production is set to peak in 2030, around the same time the world's population will reach nine billion. As a finite resource, a phosphate shortage will effect global food production.
The red tip on these matches contains phosphorus, which ignites when in contact with oxygen.
The elements that make up each column of the periodic table share a set of common traits. Here, a chemist describes group 15 and the crucial role phosphorus, in particular, plays in cancer.
pxl.store / shutterstock
Currently, all the value in sewage sludge is literally being flushed down the toilet.
Aeration tanks at the Oaks wastewater treatment plant in New Providence, Penn.
Montgomery County Planning Commission
The 'used water' that flows from our showers, dishwashers and toilets isn't a waste to engineers – it contains valuable materials. The challenge is recovering them and turning them into products.
Originally found in a bucket of urine by an alchemist searching for the elixir of life, the race is on to find a way to rescue Element 15 from permanent exile in our rivers and streams.
Blooms of algae, like this growth in 2015 in Lake St. Clair between Michigan and Ontario, promote the formation of dead zones.
NASA Earth Observatory
Scientists have mapped a huge dead zone in the Gulf of Oman, without enough oxygen in the water to support life. This Speed Read explains why dead zones form in waters around the world.
The stuff of life.
It is essential to maintain global food supply, but the clock is ticking.
Zoubeir Souissi / Reuters
You know that greenhouse gases are changing the climate. But when did you last worry about phosphorus?
Shaken not stirred …
Getting tellurium and phosphorus to form a molecule is stupidly hard and not very glamorous. Here's why it's worth the effort.
px PikiWiki Israel Green spice crops.
Here’s the good news. We probably don’t have to worry about peak oil just yet, as it isn’t going to run out anytime soon. The bad news is, as the IPCC has recently reported, we can’t afford the costs of…
Megafauna such as Glyptodon were muck-spreaders.
If Earth were like a human body, large animals might be its arteries, moving nutrients from where they’re abundant to where they’re needed. Currently the planet has large regions where life is limited…
Phosphorus is an important, life-giving element and is often used for plant growth in an agricultural setting. Scientists…
Manure is a great source of phosphorus, but we’ve largely removed it from agriculture.
Flickr/Amy Alana Star
Without phosphorus we cannot produce food. Yet even as pressure mounts on this critical non-renewable resource, there is a startling lack of global governance of its use and supply. If no one takes responsibility…
Farm yields in Australia rely on phosphorus, but we could be using it more efficiently.
Phosphorus fertiliser might not spring to mind as highly important to our everyday lives in Australia, but it is critical for our grazing and cropping farms. This is because the majority of Australian…