2023 Braga de Fronseca Urease inhibitors technologies as strategy to mitigate agricultural ammonia emissions and enhance the use efficiency of urea‑based fertilizers

Experiments were conducted to evaluate the stability and degradation of NBPT under storage conditions and to quantify urease activity, ammonia losses by volatilization, and agronomic efficiency of urea treated with different urease inhibitors, measured in the field. Experiments included urea treated with 530 mg NBPT kg (UNBPT) in contact with six P‑sources (monoammonium phosphate‑ MAP; single superphosphate; triple superphosphate; P‑Agrocote; P‑Phusion; P‑Policote), with two P‑concentrations (30; 70%); the monitoring four N‑technologies (SoILC; Limus; Nitrain; Anvol); and the application of conventional urea (UGRAN) or urea treated with urease inhibitors as topdressing in three maize fields, at three N rates.

It is concluded that: the mixture of UNBPT and P‑fertilizers is incompatible. When MAP granules were coated to control P‑release (P‑Agrocote), the degradation of NBPT was moderate (approximately 400 mg kg at the end of the storage test). SoILC and Limus solvent technologies extended the NBPT half‑life by up to 3.7 and 4.7 months, respectively. Under field, each inhibition technology reduced urease activity, and lowered the intensity of ammonia emission compared to UGRAN by 50–62%. Our results show that the concentration of NBPT is reduced by up to 53.7% for mixing with phosphates. In addition, even with coatings, the storage of mixtures of urea with NBPT and phosphates should be for a time that does not reduce the efficiency of the inhibitor after application, and this time under laboratory conditions was 168 h. The reduction of NBPT concentration in urea is reduced even in isolated storage, our results showed that the half‑life time is variable according to the formulation used, being 4.7, 3.7, 2.8 and 2.7 days for Limus, SoILC, Nitrain and Anvol, respectively. The results of these NBPT formulations in the field showed that the average losses by volatilization in the three areas were: 15%, 16%, 17%, 19% and 39% of the N applied, for SoILC, Anvol, Nitrain, Limus and urea, respectively. The rate of nitrogen application affected all agronomic variables, with varied effects in Ingaí. Even without N, yields were higher than 9200 kg ha of grains. The increase in nitrogen rates resulted in linear increases in production and N removal in Luminárias and Ingaí, but in Lavras, production decreased above 95.6 kg ha of N. The highest production in Lavras (13,772 kg ha of grains) occurred with 100 kg ha of N. The application of Anvol reduced the removal of N in Ingaí.

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