Related topics: women · eggs · sperm · embryos · infertility

A 'bionic leaf' could help feed the world

In the second half of the 20th century, the mass use of fertilizer was part of an agricultural boom called the "green revolution" that was largely credited with averting a global food crisis. Now, the challenge of feeding ...

Sustainable 'plastics' are on the horizon

A new Tel Aviv University study describes a process to make bioplastic polymers that don't require land or fresh water—resources that are scarce in much of the world. The polymer is derived from microorganisms that feed ...

Seeding oceans with iron may not impact climate change

Historically, the oceans have done much of the planet's heavy lifting when it comes to sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Microscopic organisms known collectively as phytoplankton, which grow throughout the ...

Face value: How fertile women spot rivals

It is not only animals that rely on physical cues to gauge the fertility of potential rivals for a mate, an unusual study asserted on Wednesday.

For skeleton sex it's all in the hips

Archaeologists at The Australian National University (ANU) have weighed into a long-running controversy surrounding one of the best methods of determining the sex of human skeletal remains.

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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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