2024 Ribas Bentonite modified urea fertilizer for controlled release of N

2024 Ribas Bentonite­ modified urea fertilizer for controlled release of nitrogen – kinetics of ammonia volatilization

Brazil  is  the  fourth  country  in  global  demand  for  fertilizers,  with  an  average  annual consumption  of  40  million  tons.  Around  85%  of  the  total  fertilizers  used  in  the  country  are imported. With the increase in prices and a possible shortage of urea in Brazil, it is essential to manage it consciously to avoid waste. The lack of fertilizer triggers a series of socioeconomic problems, starting with the rise in prices of basic foodstuffs, as has  already been seen in 2021, decreasing food security, increasing hun ger, and the number of people below the poverty line. Controlled­ release fertilizers are great allies aiming at a lower need in fertilizer quantity to have the  same  efficiency  in  planting,  reducing  costs  in  transportation  and  purchase.  With  the controlled  release  of  nitrogen,  the  plant  receives  the  necessary  amount  of  this  mineral  over  a prolonged  period  and  not  a  high  immediate  load  lost  over  time,  as  is  the  case  with  the application  of  urea  on  the  soil  surface.  Another  exciting  aspect  of  controlled ­release  fertilizer is the reduction of nitrogen losses by volatilization and leaching, leading to a lower risk of soil and effluent contamination, besides better resource management. The present work proposes to analyze  several  aspects  of  bentonite ­modified  urea  fertilizer  (BUF),  aiming  to  obtain  data  on the  interaction  mechanism  between  these  two  compounds  and  analyze  which  characteristics enable  the  controlled  release  of  nitrogen.  Around  20%  of  the  urea  present  in  the  BUF  is intercalated  in  the  bentonite  layers ,  showing  that  intercalation  is  effective,  and  the  exfoliation obtained  by  the  extrusion  process  is  important  for  obtaining  a  slow ­release  fertilizer.  In addition,  it  was  possible  to  conclude  that  the  urea  molecules  are  strongly  bound  to  the intermediate  bentonite  layers  in  the  BUF  fertilizer,  especially  around  20%  of  the  total  urea content. This slower and more sustained release of urea gives BUF the important characteristic of  an  efficient  slow­ release  nitrogen  fertilizer.  Analysis  of  ammonia  volatilization  in  the  soil showed  that  urea  loses  nitrogen  through  volatilization  60%  faster  than  BUF.  In  addition,  the boric acid methodology could be validated against the ammonia sensor tests. It was possible to conclude  that  the  volatilization  of  ammonia  is  68%  higher  than  that  of  BUF  in  the  same  time interval. Another point to note is that ammonia volatilization is faster and higher when urea is used as a fertilizer than when BUF is used.

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