Pair your accounts.

Export articles to Mendeley

Get article recommendations from ACS based on references in your Mendeley library.

Pair your accounts.

Export articles to Mendeley

Get article recommendations from ACS based on references in your Mendeley library.

You’ve supercharged your research process with ACS and Mendeley!

STEP 1:
Click to create an ACS ID

Please note: If you switch to a different device, you may be asked to login again with only your ACS ID.

Please note: If you switch to a different device, you may be asked to login again with only your ACS ID.

Please note: If you switch to a different device, you may be asked to login again with only your ACS ID.

MENDELEY PAIRING EXPIRED
Your Mendeley pairing has expired. Please reconnect
ACS Publications. Most Trusted. Most Cited. Most Read
My Activity
CONTENT TYPES

Slow Release Nanofertilizers for Bumper Crops

Nanotechnology could improve fertilizer delivery and help with global pollution (from ACS Nano).

View Author Information
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Rutgers—The State University of New Jersey, 607 Taylor Road, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, United States
Cite this: ACS Cent. Sci. 2017, 3, 3, 156–157
Publication Date (Web):March 6, 2017
https://doi.org/10.1021/acscentsci.7b00091

Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society. This publication is licensed under these Terms of Use.

  • Open Access

Article Views

3942

Altmetric

-

Citations

LEARN ABOUT THESE METRICS
PDF (4 MB)

The Haber–Bosch process for the commercial production of ammonia demonstrated in 1913 was a watershed event in the mass production of urea, the principal nitrogen fertilizer for modern agriculture. Today, thanks to the so-called “green revolution” starting in in the 1960s, nearly half of the world population relies on increased crop yields, through the use of nitrogen fertilizers, to access affordable food. Urea, CO(NH2)2, is the principal nitrogen fertilizer (46% N by weight). Sadly, urea’s chief strengths—water solubility and ready plant availability—also provide its Achilles’ heel. About three-quarters of urea is lost during fertilization due to volatilization and leaching. (1) This not only increases the cost but also has severe negative environmental implications. Specifically, the inefficiency of fertilizer delivery is associated with contaminated groundwater and water bodies suffused with nitrates, expanding coastal water dead zones, and nitrous oxide getting into the atmosphere. Nitrous oxide is the third most abundant greenhouse gas, with a higher Global Warming Potential than either carbon dioxide or methane. (2) Our dependence on synthetic nitrogen fertilizer has dramatically increased anthropogenic interference with the nitrogen cycle, key for protein production for all life forms. Modern food production releases nearly as much nitrogen (150 Mt/year) as is generated by bio fixation and lightning.

Urea leaching exacerbates these problems; thus solutions to improve the plant availability of urea while reducing its adverse effects to the environment will be crucial in the coming decades. This will be true particularly as we work to maintain global food security in a world with an increasing population.

Some recent attempts at addressing this problem draw on the use of nanoparticle based fertilizers to allow slow release of the nutrient on demand and thus preventing premature loss. (2, 3) However, compared to controlled drug release for pharmaceutics, there has been a paucity of research on the agriculture applications of nanotechnology to improve release behavior of fertilizer formulations. Previous work has reported that carbon nanotubes can enter tomato seeds, and zinc oxide nanoparticles pass into rye grass root tissues. These results suggest that nanofertilizer delivery systems could be fabricated to take advantage of nanoscale porous zones on plant surfaces. (4) In addition, although different aspects of nanotechnology in agriculture such as plant delivery systems have been investigated by many research groups, no specific strategies for addressing the problem of loss of urea during fertilization have been reported to date. (5-8)

Our dependence on synthetic nitrogen fertilizer has dramatically increased anthropogenic interference with the nitrogen cycle, key for protein production for all life forms.

Researchers at the Sri Lankan Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC) have developed a nanofertilizer using urea coated hydroxyapatite nanoparticles for targeted delivery via slow release using nanohybrids that have so far been primarily used in medicine to realize the nanofertilizer (Figure 1). (9) Their method significantly reduces the amount of urea required for fertilization since it can be applied locally. Perhaps more impressively, the authors demonstrate that, with their approach, the rice crop yields are significantly enhanced even when 50% less urea is used.

Figure 1

Figure 1. Rod shaped urea–HA nanohybrids maintained efficacy from pot trials to the rice fields. Part of the figure is reproduced with permission from ref 9. Copyright 2017 American Chemical Society.

The authors’ simple and scalable one step method for realizing urea coated hydroxyapatite nanoparticles (HA NPs) is achieved by controlled addition of phosphoric acid into a suspension of Ca(OH)2 and urea, followed by fast drying using spray-drying. Laboratory data for the release of urea from the nanohybrids with a 1:6 HA to urea ratio released urea 12 times more slowly compared to pure urea.

Furthermore, the nanohybrid contained very nearly the same amount of available nitrogen as pure urea. Farmer field level trials in rice revealed that by using half as much nitrogen from the urea–HA nanohybrids they could achieve the same fertilization as under alluvial soil conditions.

Laboratory data for the release of urea from the nanohybrids with a 1:6 HA to urea ratio released urea 12 times more slowly compared to pure urea.

Laboratory data for the release of urea from the nanohybrids with a 1:6 HA to urea ratio released urea 12 times more slowly compared to pure urea. Through this “less is more” approach using nanotechnology, one can envision additional environmental benefits. Over time, the phosphorus content from the particles will also be released to the soil. The best results are obtained in sandy loam soil, where native fertilizer retention is poor and the slow release nature of urea from the nanohybrid evidently is an advantage. Furthermore, cost advantages realized through the availability of P from the NC are yet to be determined.

It is probable that modeling studies could provide better quantitative data regarding the environmental remediation aspect of this technology. The important goal and challenge for this technology going forward is to fine-tune the urea–HA nanohybrid to maximize its potential in a variety of soil types, while making this simple approach to the global nitrogen issue commercially viable.

Author Information

ARTICLE SECTIONS
Jump To

  • Corresponding Author
    • Manish Chhowalla - Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Rutgers—The State University of New Jersey, 607 Taylor Road, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, United States

    References

    ARTICLE SECTIONS
    Jump To

    This article references 9 other publications.

    1. 1
      Monreal, C.; McGill, W. B.; Nyborg, M. Spatial Heterogeneity of Substrates: Effects On Hydrolysis, immobilization and Nitrification of Urea-N Can. J. Soil Sci. 1986, 66, 499 511 DOI: 10.4141/cjss86-050
    2. 2
      DeRosa, M. C.; Monreal, C.; Schnitzer, M.; Walsh, R.; Sultan, Y. Nanotechnology in fertilizers Nat. Nanotechnol. 2010, 5, 91 91 DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2010.2
    3. 3
      Kottegoda, N.; Priyadharshana, G.; Sandaruwan, C.; Dahanayake, D.; Gunasekara, S.; Amaratunga, A. G.; Karunaratne, V.Composition and method for sustained release of agricultural macronutrients, 2014.
    4. 4
      Nair, R.; Varghese, S. H.; Nair, B. G.; Maekawa, T.; Yoshida, Y.; Kumar, D. S. Nanoparticulate material delivery to plants Plant Sci. 2010, 179, 154 163 DOI: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2010.04.012
    5. 5
      Ghormade, V.; Deshpande, M. V.; Paknikar, K. M. Perspectives for nano-biotechnology enabled protection and nutrition of plants Biotechnol. Adv. 2011, 29, 792 803 DOI: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2011.06.007
    6. 6
      Khot, L. R.; Sankaran, S.; Maja, J. M.; Ehsani, R.; Schuster, E. W. Applications of nanomaterials in agricultural production and crop protection: A review Crop Prot. 2012, 35, 64 70 DOI: 10.1016/j.cropro.2012.01.007
    7. 7
      Park, M.; Kim, C. Y.; Lee, D. H.; Choi, C. L.; Choi, J.; Lee, S.; Choy, J. Intercalation of magnesium-urea complex into swelling clay J. Phys. Chem. Solids 2004, 65, 409 412 DOI: 10.1016/j.jpcs.2003.09.011
    8. 8
      Torres-Dorante, L.; Lammel, J.; Kuhlmann, H. Use of Layered Double Hydroxides to Buffer Nitrate in Soil: Long Term Nitrate Exchange Properties Under Cropping and Fallow Conditions Plant Soil 2009, 315, 257 272 DOI: 10.1007/s11104-008-9748-4
    9. 9
      Kottegoda, N.; Sandaruwan, c.; Priyadarshana, G.; Siriwardhana, S.; Rathnayake, U. A.; Arachchige, D. M. B.; Kumarasinghe, A. R.; Dahanayake, D.; Karunaratne, V.; Amaratunga, G. A. J. Urea-Hydroxyapatite Nanohybrids for Slow Release of Nitrogen ACS Nano 2017, 11, 1214 1221 DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.6b07781

    Cited By

    ARTICLE SECTIONS
    Jump To

    This article is cited by 23 publications.

    1. Ramesh Raliya, Vinod Saharan, Christian Dimkpa, Pratim Biswas. Nanofertilizer for Precision and Sustainable Agriculture: Current State and Future Perspectives. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2018, 66 (26) , 6487-6503. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.7b02178
    2. Kesong Lu, Jiayu Hou, Muhammad Riaz, Saba Babar, Ali M. Abd-Elkader, Zeinab El-Desouki, Cuncang Jiang. Calcium l -aspartate nanoparticles modify the root ultrastructure and improve plant yield in Brassica napus L.. Environmental Science: Nano 2024, 11 (6) , 2620-2632. https://doi.org/10.1039/D3EN00989K
    3. Rishabh Anand Omar, Neetu Talreja, Mohammad Ashfaq, Divya Chauhan. Nanostructure-Based Smart Fertilizers and Their Interaction with Plants. 2024, 399-430. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-41329-2_15
    4. Aniket Gade, Pramod Ingle, Utkarsha Nimbalkar, Mahendra Rai, Rajesh Raut, Mahesh Vedpathak, Pratik Jagtap, Kamel A. Abd-Elsalam. Nanofertilizers: The Next Generation of Agrochemicals for Long-Term Impact on Sustainability in Farming Systems. Agrochemicals 2023, 2 (2) , 257-278. https://doi.org/10.3390/agrochemicals2020017
    5. T. J. Purakayastha, Debarati Bhaduri, Dhiraj Kumar, Rajendra Yadav, Ankita Trivedi. Soil and Plant Nutrition. 2023, 365-411. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-7997-2_15
    6. Rahul Mishra, Nisha Sahu, Madhumonti Saha, Abhijit Sarkar, Dinesh Kumar Yadav, J. K. Saha, A. K. Patra. Nanofertilizers in Agriculture: Futuristic Approach. 2023, 267-293. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-35147-1_14
    7. Ajay Kumar Bhardwaj, Geeta Arya, Raj Kumar, Lamy Hamed, Hadi Pirasteh-Anosheh, Poonam Jasrotia, Prem Lal Kashyap, Gyanendra Pratap Singh. Switching to nanonutrients for sustaining agroecosystems and environment: the challenges and benefits in moving up from ionic to particle feeding. Journal of Nanobiotechnology 2022, 20 (1) https://doi.org/10.1186/s12951-021-01177-9
    8. Hiral Jariwala, Rafael M. Santos, John D. Lauzon, Animesh Dutta, Yi Wai Chiang. Controlled release fertilizers (CRFs) for climate-smart agriculture practices: a comprehensive review on release mechanism, materials, methods of preparation, and effect on environmental parameters. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 2022, 29 (36) , 53967-53995. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-022-20890-y
    9. Lifei Xi, Mengyuan Zhang, Liling Zhang, Tedrick T. S. Lew, Yeng Ming Lam. Novel Materials for Urban Farming. Advanced Materials 2022, 34 (25) https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.202105009
    10. Sara Hube, Francisco Salazar, Marion Rodríguez, Jaime Mejías, Luis Ramírez, Marta Alfaro. Dynamics of Nitrogen Gaseous Losses Following the Application of Foliar Nanoformulations to Grasslands. Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition 2022, 22 (2) , 1758-1767. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42729-022-00769-0
    11. Wajid Umar, Imre Czinkota, Miklós Gulyás, Tariq Aziz, Muhammad Khalid Hameed. Development and characterization of slow release N and Zn fertilizer by coating urea with Zn fortified nano-bentonite and ZnO NPs using various binders. Environmental Technology & Innovation 2022, 26 , 102250. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eti.2021.102250
    12. Amishwar Raysing Shelte, Sanjay Pratihar. Next-generation nanomaterials for environmental industries: Prospects and challenges. 2022, 399-415. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-823137-1.00015-4
    13. Zai-Yin Hu, Guangyan Chen, Shou-Hong Yi, Yaling Wang, Quanyi Liu, Ru Wang. Multifunctional porous hydrogel with nutrient controlled-release and excellent biodegradation. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering 2021, 9 (5) , 106146. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jece.2021.106146
    14. Ifra Saleem, Muhammad Aamer Maqsood, Muhammad Zia ur Rehman, Tariq Aziz, Ijaz Ahmad Bhatti, Shafaqat Ali. Potassium ferrite nanoparticles on DAP to formulate slow release fertilizer with auxiliary nutrients. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 2021, 215 , 112148. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2021.112148
    15. J. H. Mejias, F. Salazar, L. Pérez Amaro, S. Hube, M. Rodriguez, M. Alfaro. Nanofertilizers: A Cutting-Edge Approach to Increase Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Grasslands. Frontiers in Environmental Science 2021, 9 https://doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2021.635114
    16. Saheli Pradhan, Maheshwar Durgam, Damodhara Rao Mailapalli. Urea loaded hydroxyapatite nanocarrier for efficient delivery of plant nutrients in rice. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science 2021, 67 (3) , 371-382. https://doi.org/10.1080/03650340.2020.1732940
    17. Gaurav Chugh, Kadambot H. M. Siddique, Zakaria M. Solaiman. Nanobiotechnology for Agriculture: Smart Technology for Combating Nutrient Deficiencies with Nanotoxicity Challenges. Sustainability 2021, 13 (4) , 1781. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041781
    18. Reshma Soman, Subin Balachandran. Trends and technologies behind controlled-release fertilizers. 2021, 155-168. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-819555-0.00009-1
    19. Mohammad Reza Maghsoodi, Nosratollah Najafi, Adel Reyhanitabar, Shahin Oustan. Hydroxyapatite nanorods, hydrochar, biochar, and zeolite for controlled-release urea fertilizers. Geoderma 2020, 379 , 114644. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2020.114644
    20. Muhammad Iqbal, Shahid Umar, Mahmooduzzafar. Nano-fertilization to Enhance Nutrient Use Efficiency and Productivity of Crop Plants. 2019, 473-505. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-05569-1_19
    21. Shipra Pandey, Aradhana Mishra, Ved Prakash Giri, Madhuree Kumari, Sumit Soni. A Green Nano-Synthesis to Explore the Plant Microbe Interactions. 2019, 85-105. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-444-64191-5.00007-9
    22. Chuanxin Ma, Jason C. White, Jian Zhao, Qing Zhao, Baoshan Xing. Uptake of Engineered Nanoparticles by Food Crops: Characterization, Mechanisms, and Implications. Annual Review of Food Science and Technology 2018, 9 (1) , 129-153. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-food-030117-012657
    23. Dae‐Young Kim, Avinash Kadam, Surendra Shinde, Rijuta Ganesh Saratale, Jayanta Patra, Gajanan Ghodake. Recent developments in nanotechnology transforming the agricultural sector: a transition replete with opportunities. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 2018, 98 (3) , 849-864. https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.8749
    • Abstract

      Figure 1

      Figure 1. Rod shaped urea–HA nanohybrids maintained efficacy from pot trials to the rice fields. Part of the figure is reproduced with permission from ref 9. Copyright 2017 American Chemical Society.

    • References

      ARTICLE SECTIONS
      Jump To

      This article references 9 other publications.

      1. 1
        Monreal, C.; McGill, W. B.; Nyborg, M. Spatial Heterogeneity of Substrates: Effects On Hydrolysis, immobilization and Nitrification of Urea-N Can. J. Soil Sci. 1986, 66, 499 511 DOI: 10.4141/cjss86-050
      2. 2
        DeRosa, M. C.; Monreal, C.; Schnitzer, M.; Walsh, R.; Sultan, Y. Nanotechnology in fertilizers Nat. Nanotechnol. 2010, 5, 91 91 DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2010.2
      3. 3
        Kottegoda, N.; Priyadharshana, G.; Sandaruwan, C.; Dahanayake, D.; Gunasekara, S.; Amaratunga, A. G.; Karunaratne, V.Composition and method for sustained release of agricultural macronutrients, 2014.
      4. 4
        Nair, R.; Varghese, S. H.; Nair, B. G.; Maekawa, T.; Yoshida, Y.; Kumar, D. S. Nanoparticulate material delivery to plants Plant Sci. 2010, 179, 154 163 DOI: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2010.04.012
      5. 5
        Ghormade, V.; Deshpande, M. V.; Paknikar, K. M. Perspectives for nano-biotechnology enabled protection and nutrition of plants Biotechnol. Adv. 2011, 29, 792 803 DOI: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2011.06.007
      6. 6
        Khot, L. R.; Sankaran, S.; Maja, J. M.; Ehsani, R.; Schuster, E. W. Applications of nanomaterials in agricultural production and crop protection: A review Crop Prot. 2012, 35, 64 70 DOI: 10.1016/j.cropro.2012.01.007
      7. 7
        Park, M.; Kim, C. Y.; Lee, D. H.; Choi, C. L.; Choi, J.; Lee, S.; Choy, J. Intercalation of magnesium-urea complex into swelling clay J. Phys. Chem. Solids 2004, 65, 409 412 DOI: 10.1016/j.jpcs.2003.09.011
      8. 8
        Torres-Dorante, L.; Lammel, J.; Kuhlmann, H. Use of Layered Double Hydroxides to Buffer Nitrate in Soil: Long Term Nitrate Exchange Properties Under Cropping and Fallow Conditions Plant Soil 2009, 315, 257 272 DOI: 10.1007/s11104-008-9748-4
      9. 9
        Kottegoda, N.; Sandaruwan, c.; Priyadarshana, G.; Siriwardhana, S.; Rathnayake, U. A.; Arachchige, D. M. B.; Kumarasinghe, A. R.; Dahanayake, D.; Karunaratne, V.; Amaratunga, G. A. J. Urea-Hydroxyapatite Nanohybrids for Slow Release of Nitrogen ACS Nano 2017, 11, 1214 1221 DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.6b07781