Human waste could help combat global food insecurity

Researchers from Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan have proven it is possible to create nitrogen-rich fertilizer by combining ...

How does an increase in nitrogen application affect grasslands?

The "PaNDiv" experiment, established by researchers of the University of Bern on a 3000 m2 field site, is the largest biodiversity-ecosystem functioning experiment in Switzerland and aims to better understand how increases ...

Slivers of land could power cheaper, greener nitrogen fertilizers

Nitrogen-based fertilizer contributes to the high yields expected from crops in the developed world, but its high use also damages nearby waters and ecosystems. Conversely, developing countries that most need yield improvements ...

Uganda: 20% decline in economic output without climate action

There is evidence that climate change affects both the quantity and quality of food production, reducing food security, and nutrition intake. In developing countries, where the agricultural sector dominates the economy, the ...

Worldwide urban expansion causing problems

As cities physically expanded worldwide between 1970 and 2010, the population in those cities became less dense, according to a study led by a Texas A&M university professor.

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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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