Nitrogen Vs Phosphorus

906 Words4 Pages
Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are the two major nutrients commonly found in a pristine aquatic ecosystem and are sustained by the metabolic activities of microbes and animals. These are vital components found in protein, nucleic acid, and enzymes, which are needed for trapping light and chemical energy in order to support life. However, the heightened number of anthropogenic activities has interfered with the balance of nutrients, thus, enriching the ecosystem, resulting in eutrophication. Originated from the Greek words ‘eu’ (abundant) and ‘trophi’ (food or nutrient),
Eutrophication is an accelerated growth of algae on higher forms of plant life caused by the enrichment of water by nutrients, especially compounds of nitrogen and/or
phosphorus
…show more content…
It has been defined that there are two major nutrients commonly associated with eutrophication; Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorus (P) (Shaw, Moore, & Garnett, n.d.). These nutrients, especially N and P, are contained in commonly utilized products, such as, agricultural fertilizers, house detergents and wastewaters. Due to uncontrolled usage and improper waste discharge, nutrients from these products accumulates in the water body, causing the water to be enriched with N and P. The three main sources of anthropic input are run offs, erosion and leaching from fertilized farming land, and industrial wastewater (Smith, Tilman, & Nekola, 1999). There are two examples of activities which results in nutrient enrichment of a water body. First, the expansion of aquaculture increases N by releasing fresh animal food and fish excretes into the water; second, the development of dams to store water causes erosion to take place and increase the concentration on P in a water…show more content…
When an organism dies, bacteria breaks down these decaying matter into simpler components; this is known as decomposition (Lee & Arunasalam, 2009). The organisms at this stage of decomposition consists of benthic plants which could not continue living. The death of the benthic organisms is caused by the reduced penetration of sunlight from the overcrowding of phytoplankton on the surface of the water. Under a controlled amount of phytoplankton, sunlight penetrates easily to the bottom where aquatic organisms, including fish and plants, can reproduce and prosper. Photosynthesis is one major process carried out by plants, with the aid of sunlight, to produce food. However, the shadow effect caused by the algal bloom obstructs the penetration of light. Consequently, these benthic plants die out of ‘hunger’ due to the halted food production. Bacteria decomposes all the dead and decaying matters causing the turbidity of the water to gradually
Open Document