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Fertilizer (or fertiliser) is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin (other than liming materials) that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants.[1] A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use.[2] They are essential for high-yield harvest: European fertilizer market is expected to grow to €15.3 billion by 2018.[3]
Mined inorganic fertilizers have been used for many centuries, whereas chemically synthesized inorganic fertilizers were only widely developed during the industrial revolution. Increased understanding and use of fertilizers were important parts of the pre-industrial British Agricultural Revolution and the industrial Green Revolution of the 20th century.
Inorganic fertilizer use has also significantly supported global population growth — it has been estimated that almost half the people on the Earth are currently fed as a result of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer use.[4]
Fertilizers typically provide, in varying proportions:
six macronutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S);
seven micronutrients: boron (B), chlorine (Cl), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), and zinc (Zn).
The macronutrients are consumed in larger quantities and are present in plant tissue in quantities from 0.15% to 6.0% on a dry matter (0% moisture) basis (DM). Micronutrients are consumed in smaller quantities and are present in plant tissue on the order of parts per million (ppm), ranging from 0.15 to 400 ppm DM, or less than 0.04% DM.[5][6]
Only three other macronutrients are required by all plants: carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. These nutrients are supplied by water and carbon dioxide.
The nitrogen-rich fertilizer ammonium nitrate is also used as an oxidizing agent in improvised explosive devices, sometimes called fertilizer bombs, leading to sale regulations.[7]


^ "Glossary of Soil Science Terms". Soil Science Society of America. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
^ Stewart, W.M.; Dibb, D.W.; Johnston, A.E.; Smyth, T.J. (2005). "The Contribution of Commercial Fertilizer Nutrients to Food Production". Agronomy Journal 97: 1–6. doi:10.2134/agronj2005.0001.
^ "Market Study on Fertilizers".
^ Erisman, Jan Willem; MA Sutton, J Galloway, Z Klimont, W Winiwarter (October 2008). "How a century of ammonia synthesis changed the world". Nature Geoscience 1 (10): 636. doi:10.1038/ngeo325. Retrieved October 22, 2010.
^ "AESL Plant Analysis Handbook – Nutrient Content of Plant". Retrieved 2010-08-25.
^ H.A. Mills, J.B. Jones Jr. (1996). Plant Analysis Handbook II: A practical Sampling, Preparation, Analysis, and Interpretation Guide. ISBN 1-878148-05-2.
^ "U.S. Department of Homeland Security". Retrieved 2012-06-17.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 November 2012 11:50

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