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Industrial metabolism and the grand nutrient cycles

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There are four major elements that are required by the biosphere in significantly greater quantities than they are available in nature. These four are carbon (C), nitrogen (N), sulfur (S) and phosphorus (P). Natural cycles have evolved over billions of years to recycle these elements in chemically available forms. (Hydrogen and oxygen, the other two major ingredients of organic materials, are not scarce in the Earth's crust). These natural cycles are driven by photosynthetic process utilizing exergy influx from the sun. Interruption or disturbance of these natural cycles as a consequence of human industrial / economic activity would adversely affect the stability of the biosphere.

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