Call Us: 562.310.7570 -


The global Phosphorus crisis: excess and scarcity

    Modern agriculture relies primarily on mined Phosphorus as fertilizer, half of which ends up in our lakes and rivers [1].
    Excess. The resulting excess Phosphorus pollution is a key driver for toxic algal blooms which can render our drinking water toxic (Toledo, OH, 2014 [2]) and deeply harms natural ecosystems worldwide [3,4]. The US EPA is addressing this widespread Health and Environmental crisis by issuing new water phosphorus regulations across the country [5], whose implementation by Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facilities proves expensive. Current costs range between $40-60 per lb phosphorus removed [6], which would amount to an additional fee of $57-87 per person per year for each compliant public utility customer (based on the data that each person contributes 1.8 gram phosphorus per day [7] in municipal wastewater).
    Scarcity. The world’s main source of phosphorus fertilizer is mined phosphate rock. While global phosphorus demand is rising (to feed a growing world population), cheap high-quality reserves are becoming increasingly scarce [1]. Phosphorus mining is associated with radioactive and heavy metal pollution [8,9], whose cost is heightened by the quality decline of current reserves. In addition, global market tensions render phosphorus prices volatile, as has been seen in the 2008 price spike (see Figure). With only 5% of the world reserve [10,11], China, which nevertheless satisfies 45% of the global demand [12], just froze exports until at least June 2022 [11,14]. Resulting increases in food price, especially meat, are to be expected in the upcoming months.

PIARCS’ dual solution

    PIARCS’ phosphorus-hungry microbes (PHM) completely remove phosphate from wastewater and can be recovered as high density organic fertilizer:

  • High-affinity (residual levels below 0.03 mg P/L) enable EPA water compliance
  • High-loading (0.7 g P/ g dry weight) allow for high density organic phosphorus fertilizer production
  • One-step microbial process, rapid (~20-40min contact time)
  • The PHM (bacteria) can grow on cheap carbon sources such as the glycerol waste from biodiesel production
    PIARCS’ phosphorus technology combines all the advantages of competing technologies.
    PIARCS’ PHM enables a vertuous phosphorus cycle compatible with modern agriculture and industrialization.

PIARCS’ ongoing progress

    PIARCS’ PHM are triggered by a molecule which has yet to be identified. Fundamental research is ongoing at this time.

Licensing revenue target

    $2 per person per year licensing revenue (in addition to an expected operating cost under $1 per person per year).


    [1] and Figure 3.1
Back to Top

Thus, fish A has a division time of 5 hours, and fish B has a division time of 10 hours. While fish A grows faster than fish B, the biomass yield of fish A (50% g biomass / g pellet) is lower than that of fish B (100 %).

If you chose to grow the fast fish, then your approach fits with the strategies to-date.
If you chose to grow the efficient fish, then your approach fits with PIARCS’ novel strategy.