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Facts About Phosphorus

By Amy Jorgensen, eHow Contributing Writer
(6 Ratings)

Scientifically, phosphorus is defined as a poisonous, highly reactive, non-metallic element that naturally occurs in the form of phosphates. It exists in several allotropic forms, which are red, white (which is sometimes yellow), and black (which is sometimes violet). It derives its name from two Greek words: "phos," which means light, and "phoros" meaning bearer. Therefore, we can say that phosphorus means "bearer of light". It was discovered in 1669 by Hennig Brand. It is found mostly in Russia, the USA and Africa.

    Properties of phosphorus

  1. The scientific symbol of phosphorus is P. Its atomic number is 15; it has an atomic mass of 30.97376 amu, a melting point of 44.1° C, 317.25°K and a boiling point of 280.0° C, 553.15°K. Phosphorus has 15 protons and electrons and 16 neutrons. It is monoclinic in crystal structure. It is a non-metal, which means it is not capable of conducting electricity. Non-metals can be found in groups 14, 15 and 16 on the periodic table.
  2. Uses of phosphorus

  3. Phosphorus is used in many ways. It is used largely in agriculture as a fertilizer in combination with other substances. It is also used as an essential in making pesticides, incendiary bombs and shells. As the bearer of light, it is used in making safety matches. In the industrial sector, phosphorus is an essential element in steel production.
  4. Phosphorus in the human body

  5. Despite the fact that it is a highly poisonous substance, phosphorus is one of the most important elements for human beings. It is said to be the second most abundant substance in the body. It is found in the bones, blood and bodily fluids. It is also found in various body organs such as the heart, the brain and the kidneys, where it plays a very important role in organ function. The main function of phosphorus is the production of bones and teeth. This makes phosphorus an essential nutrient for life to be normal.
  6. How phosphorus works in the body

  7. Almost all physiological chemical processes and reactions in the body are regulated by the presence of phosphorus. For phosphorus to function properly in the body, there should be Vitamin D and calcium available. It is essential in the strengthening and protection of cell membranes; it assists the other nutrients, chemicals and hormones to function properly. It is essential for good nerve impulses, normal functioning of the kidneys and the way fats, proteins and carbohydrates are synthesized for growth. It is also a part of DNA and RNA.
  8. Natural dietary sources of phosphorus

  9. We can derive phosphorus for use in the body from many food sources. These are yogurt, milk, American cheese, cottage cheese, tuna, lobsters and chicken. Plant sources of phosphorus include peanuts, sunflower seeds, bran flakes, shredded wheat, rice, potatoes, corn, peas, beans and broccoli. It is also found in milk chocolate and drinks containing phosphoric acid such as soda.

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