News Column

New Anions Findings from Arizona State University Described (Regime shift in fertilizer commodities indicates more turbulence ahead for food security)

July 15, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Life Science Weekly -- Research findings on Anions are discussed in a new report. According to news reporting out of Tempe, Arizona, by NewsRx editors, research stated, "Recent human population increase has been enabled by a massive expansion of global agricultural production. A key component of this 'Green Revolution' has been application of inorganic fertilizers to produce and maintain high crop yields."

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Arizona State University, "However, the long-term sustainability of these practices is unclear given the eutrophying effects of fertilizer runoff as well as the reliance of fertilizer production on finite non-renewable resources such as mined phosphate-and potassium-bearing rocks. Indeed, recent volatility in food and agricultural commodity prices, especially phosphate fertilizer, has raised concerns about emerging constraints on fertilizer production with consequences for its affordability in the developing world. We examined 30 years of monthly prices of fertilizer commodities (phosphate rock, urea, and potassium) for comparison with three food commodities (maize, wheat, and rice) and three non-agricultural commodities (gold, nickel, and petroleum). Here we show that all commodity prices, except gold, had significant change points between 2007-2009, but the fertilizer commodities, and especially phosphate rock, showed multiple symptoms of nonlinear critical transitions. In contrast to fertilizers and to rice, maize and wheat prices did not show significant signs of nonlinear dynamics. From these results we infer a recent emergence of a scarcity price in global fertilizer markets, a result signaling a new high price regime for these essential agricultural inputs."

According to the news editors, the research concluded: "Such a regime will challenge on-going efforts to establish global food security but may also prompt fertilizer use practices and nutrient recovery strategies that reduce eutrophication."

For more information on this research see: Regime shift in fertilizer commodities indicates more turbulence ahead for food security. Plos One, 2014;9(5):e93998. (Public Library of Science -; Plos One -

Our news journalists report that additional information may be obtained by contacting J.J. Elser, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, United States. Additional authors for this research include T.J. Elser, S.R. Carpenter and W.A Brock (see also Anions).

Keywords for this news article include: Tempe, Anions, Arizona, Phosphates, Agricultural, United States, Phosphoric Acids, North and Central America.

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Source: Life Science Weekly

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