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New paper points to soil pore structure as key to carbon storage

Alexandra Kravchenko, Michigan State University professor in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, and several of her colleagues recently discovered a new mechanism determining how carbon is stored in soils ...

Trees for water quality credits

The more naturally verdant an area is, the more likely it will contribute to the general health of the habitats and the organisms in and around it. Sometimes, though, tracing these qualities to specific benefits can be a ...

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Fertilizer

Fertilizers are chemical compounds applied to promote plant and fruit growth. Fertilizers are usually applied either through the soil (for uptake by plant roots) or, by foliar feeding (for uptake through leaves).

Fertilizers can be placed into the categories of organic fertilizers (composed of decayed plant/animal matter), or inorganic fertilizers (composed of simple chemicals and minerals). Organic fertilizers are 'naturally' occurring compounds, such as peat, manufactured through natural processes (such as composting), or naturally occurring mineral deposits; inorganic fertilizers are manufactured through chemical processes (such as the Haber process), also using naturally occurring deposits, while chemically altering them (e.g. concentrated triple superphosphate).

Properly applied, organic fertilizers can improve the health and productivity of soil and plants, as they provide different essential nutrients to encourage plant growth. Organic nutrients increase the abundance of soil organisms by providing organic matter and micronutrients for organisms such as fungal mycorrhiza, which aid plants in absorbing nutrients. Chemical fertilizers may have long-term adverse impact on the organisms living in soil[citation needed] and a detrimental long term effect on soil productivity of the soil[citation needed].

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