Animals obtain most of their PO43- by consumption of other animals and from water. PO43- is discharged to the soil again by decomposers. Dissolved PO43- gets taken in by algae and aquatic plants. Decomposers go down waste and returns PO43- to sediments on the seabed. Some returns to terrestrial environment through geologic processes and via seabirds.

Low phosphorus (chemical symbol, P) accessibility slows down microbial growth, which has been shown in studies of soil microbial biomass. Soil microorganisms act as sinks and sources of available P in the biogeochemical cycle. Locally, transformations of PO4 are microbially driven; however, the major transfers in the global cycle of P are not driven by microbial reactions, but by tectonic movements in geologic time. Further studies need to be performed for integrating different processes and factors related to gross phosphorus mineralization and microbial phosphorus turnover in general.