UoH, ARCI researchers develop chemically stable fertilizer

Based on promising lab results, the research team is now planning to test the efficacy of nano-DAP on tomato plants under field conditions.   | Photo Credit: Representational photo

Material scientists and plant biologists from the University of Hyderabad (UoH) and International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) have developed an industrially viable dry method to generate chemically stable and smaller nano-diammonium phosphate (n-DAP) fertilizer that would reduce over-dependence on chemical fertilisers.

Subsequent testing of both types of fertilizers on tomato and wheat seedlings demonstrated an extraordinary superiority of nano-DAP fertilizer over the conventional granular DAP (c-DAP). In the lab-scale experiments, the reduced quantity of nano-DAP fertilizer input than c-DAP promoted the early seedlings growth and development in both crops. It also led to enhanced phosphate uptake efficiency in these seedlings.

Based on these promising results in the lab-scale experiments, the research team is now planning to test the efficacy of nano-DAP on tomato plants under field conditions.

“n-DAP in reduced doses while meeting the plants’ optimum P nutrient requirement would also be preferred for better soil health and agricultural sustainability,” said the research team consisting of Naorem Ronald Reagan Singh, Harita Pant, research scholars at UoH; Srikanth Venkata Satya Siva Vadali and Rahul Kumar, faculty at UoH, and Sreedhara Sudhakara Sarma and Tata Narasinga Rao from ARCI, Hyderabad.

While several hurdles remain to be overcome before the real potential of nano-DAP can be realised under field conditions, the researchers think its application in reduced quantity may significantly cut down on the overall input of conventional phosphorous-fertilizers currently applied in agriculture.

Their work titled ‘Cryo-milled nano-DAP for enhanced growth of monocot and dicot plants’ was recently published in Nanoscale Advances, a reputed scientific journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK.

Chemical fertilizers application is critical to boosting crop productivity. In fact, besides improved varieties and better irrigation methods, one of the factors that contributed to the enhanced crop productivity during the green revolution and afterwards is the application of chemical nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) fertilizers. However, excessive use of these chemicals over decades has affected the soil quality.

Moreover, global phosphorus reserves are finite and likely to be irreversibly exhausted in the next 100-200 years. India lacks big natural P-reserves and meets its P-fertilizers demand by importing. In this context, the research findings assume importance.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 8:19:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/uoh-arci-researchers-develop-chemically-stable-fertilizer/article35133784.ece

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