Bioavailability is commonly a limiting factor

Bioavailability is commonly a limiting factor in the production of crops (due to solubility limitation or adsorption of plant nutrients to soil colloids) and in the removal of toxic substances from the food chain by microorganisms (due to sorption to or partitioning of otherwise degradable substances into inaccessible phases in the environment). A noteworthy example for agriculture is plant phosphorus deficiency induced by precipitation with iron and aluminum phosphates at low soil pH and precipitation with calcium phosphates at high soil pH. Toxic materials in soil, such as lead from paint may be rendered unavailable to animals ingesting contaminated soil by supplying phosphorus fertilizers in excess. Organic pollutants such as solvents or pesticides may be rendered unavailable to microorganisms and thus persist in the environment when they are adsorbed to soil minerals or partition into hydrophobic organic matter.