Phosphorus compounds embody a famous classification of phosphor-containing compounds. In English world, phosphorus comes from the Greek word that also means "bright ", which because elemental phosphorus is self-ignition in the air. Phosphor atoms possess lone pair electrons, which determines that they have some unique physicochemical properties. Phosphorus is extraordinary abundant element in the earth, but it mainly exists in the form of inorganic salts such as Ca3(PO4)2 and any other salts consisting in mineral. It is noteworthy that phosphorus element is found in all the cells of human body, which is essential for constituting bones and teeth and is involved in almost all the physiological reactions.
Phosphorus compounds are flammable and can be converted as phosphorus oxide via combustion without other toxic smoke generation. The solubility of the phosphorus compounds can be transformed by protonation reaction. For example, phosphate is totally water-soluble while phosphorus compound is slightly water-soluble before ionization. As for organophosphorus compound, they possess many valence states to produce correlative substance with a wide range of coordination number from 3-6. When organophosphorus compounds enter human body, they produce severe neurological disorders and even lead to respiratory failure and hypoxia death, thus related usage and storage should be much cautious. Given that phosphorus compounds possess outstanding physical and chemical stability and unique biological activity, which promote their wide application in materials, medicine and DNA research.
As the genetic material of an organism, DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid) is responsible for guiding protein synthesis and controlling metabolic process, thus DNA play a particularly important role in sustaining the growth of organisms. As fundamental constituent element, phosphorus exists in the DNA of each organism, inspiring the designation of phosphonate analogs for further DNA artificial synthesis (Fig 2).
Fig.2. The Phosphoramidite Approach for Oligonucleotide Synthesis (Molecules 2013, 18, 14268-14284.)
It is well known that phosphorus building blocks are indispensable for life science. The introduction of phosphorus atoms can regulate the lipophilicity and compatibility of medicine molecules, facilitating the absorption in organism. Numerous phosphorus dendrimers were polymerized and utilized in medical transportation, and incorporation of fluorescent group (green region in Fig 3) is much helpful for real-time monitoring of the carriers.
Fig.3. Surface fabrication by photopolymerization of fluorinated materials. (Polym. Chem. 2018, 9, 4161-4171.)
Owing to presence of phosphorus in most plants, phosphorus derivatives have been widely applied as fertilizers and so on. a variety of phosphorus compounds are manufactured to promote the absorption and growth of organism.