Analytical technique developments sponsored in part by the CCE have enabled the Pasek lab to determine phosphorus molecular speciation of natural water samples to nanomolar concentrations. Looking at natural Florida water samples, their lab has recently demonstrated that phosphorus in these waters includes reduced oxidation state P compounds, including phosphite. Phosphite has been previously identified in Archean rocks and helps elucidate prebiotic pathways that involved phosphorus. This phosphite may be connected to the presence of phosphine gas in the modern atmosphere, and hence the chemistry seen in Florida water samples may be global in nature.
Read Article http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1408134111