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J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Sep 19;55(19):7831-9. Epub 2007 Aug 21.

Development and agronomical validation of new fertilizer compositions of high bioavailability and reduced potential nutrient losses.

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Department of Chemistry and Soil Chemistry, University of Navarra, 31080 Pamplona, Spain.


To optimize the economical cost of each unit of fertilizer applied and to reduce the environmental contamination caused by nutrient losses, the development of highly efficient granulated fertilizers is of great importance. This study proposes a strategy that consists of developing specific fertilizers having nutrient release patterns that are dependent on plant activity in the rhizosphere. This type of fertilizer is named "rhizosphere-controlled fertilizer" (RCF fertilizer). This fertilizer is based on the introduction of an organomineral matrix composed of metal [Mg (Ca is also possible), Zn (Fe and other metals are also possible)]-humic phosphates. The presence of this matrix modifies the nutrient release pattern of the fertilizer. In this way there are two main nutrient fractions: (i) a water-soluble fraction or "starter" fraction and (ii) a "rhizosphere-controlled" fraction insoluble in water but soluble by the action of the rhizospheric acids released by plants and microorganisms. This study shows the chemical and structural characterization of the organomineral matrix, as well as its efficiency in slowing the nutrient release rate of the RCF fertilizer, principally with respect to P and N. It is demonstrated how these properties of the matrix were also reflected in the significant reduction in both ammonia volatilization and N leaching in a pot system consisting of wheat plants cultivated in a calcareous soil and fertilized with a RCF fertilizer.

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