Phosphorus (phosphore) is essential for life. As phosphate, it is a component
of DNA, RNA, ATP, and also the phospholipids that form all cell membranes.
Demonstrating the link between phosphorus and life, elemental phosphorus
was historically first isolated from human urine, and bone ash was an important
early phosphate source. Phosphate minerals are fossils.
Low phosphate levels are an important limit to growth in some aquatic
systems. The chief commercial use of phosphorus compounds for production
of fertilisers is due to the need to replace the phosphorus that plants remove
from the soil.
Phosphorus is a major cause of eutrophication of water bodies (Wikipedia).