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Phosphorus Deficiency

Phosphorus deficiency is a plant disorder associated with insufficient supply of phosphorus. Phosphorus refers here to salts of phosphates (PO43), monohydrogen phosphate (HPO42), and dihydrogen phosphate (H2PO4). Phosphates are required for the biosynthesis of genetic material as well as ATP, essential for life. Phosphorus deficiency can be controlled by applying sources of phosphorus such as bone meal, rock phosphate, manure, and phosphate-fertilizers


In plants, phosphorus (P) is considered second to nitrogen as the most essential nutrient to ensure health and function. Phosphorus is used by plants in numerous processes such as photophosphorylation, genetic transfer, the transportation of nutrients, and phospholipid cell membranes.Following symptoms are visible incase of Phosphorous deficiency:

  • Phosphorus deficient plants may mature at a slower rate than plants with adequate amounts of phosphorus. The stunted growth induced by phosphorus deficiency has been correlated with smaller leaf sizes and a lessened number of leaves.
  • Phosphorus deficiency may also create an imbalance in the storage of carbohydrates. Photosynthesis, the main function of plant cells that produces energy from sunlight and water, usually remains at a normal rate under a phosphorus-deficient state. However phosphorus usage in functions within the cell usually slow. This imbalance of rates in phosphorus deficient plants leads to the buildup of excess carbohydrate within the plant. This carbohydrate buildup often can be observed by the darkening of leaves.
  • In some plants the leaf pigment change and can turn leaves a dark purplish color.