Perspective: Phosphorus monitoring must be rooted in sustainability frameworks spanning material scale to human scale

Eric McLamore, Owen Duckworth, Treavor H. Boyer, Anna Maria Marshall, Douglas F. Call, Jehangir H. Bhadha, Sandra Guzmán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Phosphorus (P) is a finite resource, and its environmental fate and transport is complex. With fertilizer prices expected to remain high for years and disruption to supply chains, there is a pressing need to recover and reuse P (primarily as fertilizer). Whether recovery is to occur from urban systems (e.g., human urine), agricultural soil (e.g., legacy P), or from contaminated surface waters, quantification of P in various forms is vital. Monitoring systems with embedded near real time decision support, so called cyber physical systems, are likely to play a major role in the management of P throughout agro-ecosystems. Data on P flow(s) connects the environmental, economic, and social pillars of the triple bottom line (TBL) sustainabilty framework. Emerging monitoring systems must account for complex interactions in the sample, and interface with a dynamic decision support system that considers adaptive dynamics to societal needs. It is known from decades of study that P is ubiquitous, yet without quantitative tools for studying the dynamic nature of P in the environment, the details may remain elusive. If new monitoring systems (including CPS and mobile sensors) are informed by sustainability frameworks, data-informed decision making may foster resource recovery and environmental stewardship from technology users to policymakers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100168
JournalWater Research X
StatePublished - May 1 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Cyber-physical systems
  • Decision support
  • Phosphate
  • Sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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