Slow and Steady: The Effects of Different Coatings on Nitrogen Release in Soil

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Nutrient losses from fertilizers contribute significantly to low fertilizer use efficiency. There are 14 major nutrients needed for optimum plant growth, however, nitrogen (N) is the most commonly used in fertilizers and accounts for nearly 50% of fertilizer nutrient losses, contributing to atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions, pollution of underground water, and eutrophication of surface water. Thus, most of the improvements needed and made to fertilizers have been on N-based fertilizers. One of the primary objectives of N management for improved fertilizer use is the development of slow or controlled release fertilizers. These efforts are designed to delay N release to synchronize with the crop’s needs, primarily involving coating the fertilizer with a natural or synthetic material that can predict, to different degrees, the timing and rate of nutrient release from the encapsulation. This article briefly explores examples of the materials and processes used to produce or formulate controlled release fertilizer coatings that are cost effective and that improve N uptake by plants.
Mineral nutrients, Nanotechnology, Nitrogen, Sulphur
Fugice, J., C. Dimkpa, and L. Johnson. 2018. “Slow and Steady: The Effects of Different Coatings on Nitrogen Release in Soil,” Fertilizer Focus, September/October, 12-13.