What Is Phosphorus?


Quick Answer

Phosphorus is a common non-metallic element that is an essential component of many tissues and living systems. Every cell in the human body requires it for the normal functioning of the cellular membrane. Though not found on its own in nature, phosphorus can be found in many minerals.

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Full Answer

German merchant and alchemist Hennig Brand discovered phosphorus in 1669. Since then, scientists have extensively studied the element, revealing it to be an elemental building block of DNA, RNA, bones, teeth and other body tissues. Humans can obtain phosphorus through a normal diet. Many types of foods contain it, making phosphorus deficiency very uncommon .

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