2023 Swify Review Modified Urea Fertilizers and Their Effects on Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE)

Urea has served as the primary nitrogenous fertilizer globally since the early 1950s. It is widely recognized as the most concentrated nitrogen source, containing approximately 46% nitrogen. Presently, around 220 million t/year of urea compounds are manufactured globally to fit the requirements of the agricultural sector. However, a significant drawback of this is that approximately 30–35% of the urea used in soil can be lost to the environment because of its limited effectiveness. Enhancing the efficiency of urea utilization can be achieved by regulating the release of urea-nitrogen in the soil. Numerous researchers have reported that the use of slow or controlled fertilizers can regulate the release and accumulation of nitrogen in the soil. Moreover, the augmentation of soil nitrogen levels can be accomplished by using the slow or controlled release of urea fertilizers. The regulation of the release process can play a vital role in the peril of N loss. This can be effectively alleviated by delaying the release of nitrogen in ammonium form configuration for several days. This delay functions to diminish nitrogen losses, which are caused by the rapid hydrolysis of urea, and loss by leaching or volatilization. Therefore, this review aims to comprehensively explore the use of conventional urea and various materials employed for modifying urea. It will explain the distinctions among modification processes and their respective mechanisms. This review will also discuss the pros and cons of applying slow- and controlled-release nitrogen, the impact of modified urea compounds on crop productivity, and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE).

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