Marine Polyphosphate: A Key Player in Geologic Phosphorus Sequestration

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  02 May 2008:
Vol. 320, Issue 5876, pp. 652-655
DOI: 10.1126/science.1151751

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text


The in situ or authigenic formation of calcium phosphate minerals in marine sediments is a major sink for the vital nutrient phosphorus. However, because typical sediment chemistry is not kinetically conducive to the precipitation of these minerals, the mechanism behind their formation has remained a fundamental mystery. Here, we present evidence from high-sensitivity x-ray and electrodialysis techniques to describe a mechanism by which abundant diatom-derived polyphosphates play a critical role in the formation of calcium phosphate minerals in marine sediments. This mechanism can explain the puzzlingly dispersed distribution of calcium phosphate minerals observed in marine sediments worldwide.

    View Full Text