2012 Paiva Urea coated with oxidized charcoal reduces ammonia
Urea is the most consumed nitrogen fertilizer in the world. However, its agronomic and economic efficiency is reduced by the volatilization of NH3, which can reach 78 % of the applied nitrogen. The coating of urea granules with acidic compounds obtained by charcoal oxidation has the potential to reduce the volatilization, due to the acidic character, the high buffering capacity and CEC. This work aimed to evaluate the effect of HNO3-oxidized carbon on the control of NH3 volatilization. These compounds were obtained by oxidation of Eucalyptus grandis charcoal, produced at charring temperatures of 350 and 450 ºC, with 4.5 mol L-1 HNO3. The charcoal was oxidized by solubilization in acidic or alkaline medium, similar to the procedure of soil organic matter fractionation (CHox350 and CHox450). CHox was characterized by C, H, O, N contents and their respective atomic relations, by the ratio E4 (absorbance 465 nm) by E6 (absorbance 665 nm), and by active acidity and total acidity (CEC). The inhibitory effect of CHox on the urease activity of Canavalia ensiformis was assessed in vitro. The NH3 volatilization from urea was evaluated with and without coating of oxidized charcoal (U-CHox350 or U-CHox450) in a closed system with continuous air flow. The pH of both CHox was near 2.0, but the total acidity of CHox350 was higher, 72 % of which was attributed to carboxylic groups. The variation in the ionization constants of CHox350 was also greater. The low E4/E6 ratios characterize the high stability of the compounds in CHox. CHox did not inhibit the urease activity in vitro, although the maximum volatilization peak from U-CHox450 and U-CHox350 occurred 24 h after that observed for uncoated urea. The lowest volatilization ratewas observed for U-CHox350 as well as a 43 % lower total amount of NH3 volatilized than from uncoated urea.