Scientists identify a plant molecule that sops up iron-rich heme

Symbiotic relationships between legumes and the bacteria that grow in their roots are critical for plant survival. Without those bacteria, the plants would have no source of nitrogen, an element that is essential for building ...

Figuring out how wild wheat protects itself from insects

Wheat is a staple crop that provides 20% of the world population's caloric and human protein intake. Although wheat is essential for human and livestock diets, these plants are continuously preyed upon by insect herbivores ...

Growing cereal crops with less fertilizer

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have found a way to reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizers needed to grow cereal crops. The discovery could save farmers in the United States billions of dollars annually ...

Team discovers new plant gene reprogramming mechanism

Researchers Albert CairĂ³ and Karel Riha of the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) and their colleagues have discovered a previously unknown mechanism that is responsible for reprogramming gene expression in ...

Molecular basis of high nitrogen use efficiency of wheat cultivar

A research team led by Prof. Ling Hongqing from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology (IGDB) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), together with collaborators from Ludong University and the Computer Network ...

Study finds why many IVF embryos fail to develop

In humans, a fertilized egg is no guarantee of reproductive success. Most embryos stop developing and perish within days of fertilization, usually because they have an abnormal number of chromosomes. Now, researchers at Columbia ...

That lone, craggy gum tree on a farm? It's a lifeline for koalas

Certain eucalyptus trees on farms have added nitrogen due to the fertile soil. Despite dangers, koalas will travel from bushland to reach these trees and feed on their nutritious leaves. Farmers should pay heed to this, the ...

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Fertilizer

Fertilizer (or fertiliser) is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin (other than liming materials) that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use.

Mined inorganic fertilizers have been used for many centuries, whereas chemically synthesized inorganic fertilizers were only widely developed during the industrial revolution. Increased understanding and use of fertilizers were important parts of the pre-industrial British Agricultural Revolution and the industrial Green Revolution of the 20th century.

Inorganic fertilizer use has also significantly supported global population growth — it has been estimated that almost half the people on the Earth are currently fed as a result of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer use.

Fertilizers typically provide, in varying proportions:

The macronutrients are consumed in larger quantities and are present in plant tissue in quantities from 0.15% to 6.0% on a dry matter (0% moisture) basis (DM). Micronutrients are consumed in smaller quantities and are present in plant tissue on the order of parts per million (ppm), ranging from 0.15 to 400 ppm DM, or less than 0.04% DM.

Only three other macronutrients are required by all plants: carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. These nutrients are supplied by water and carbon dioxide.

The nitrogen-rich fertilizer ammonium nitrate is also used as an oxidizing agent in improvised explosive devices, sometimes called fertilizer bombs, leading to sale regulations[citation needed].

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