The rising price of fertilizers, and effective biological alternatives

The rising price of fertilizers, and effective biological alternatives

Not only is the increasing prices of all factors of production a concern, but also the environmental problem associated with the excessive use of conventional fertilizers.

The excessive use of nutrients, especially Nitrogen and Phosphorus, has become a form of pollution, damaging ecosystems. Almost 80% of the Nitrogen used in fertilizers is lost to the environment through soil erosion, leaching, atmospheric conversion, and other forms of waste, causing a decline in the quality not only of the soil, but also of the water. Similar effects on soil and water quality occur with intensive application of Phosphorus, where 70 to 90% quickly becomes unavailable to plants. Thus, part of the Phosphorus accumulates in the soil, changing the pH, the ion exchange capacity, the diversity and functionality of the microbiome, and can also be lost to the environment.

The leached fertilizers will deposit in the groundwater and enter the waterways, causing the proliferation of toxic algae - cyanobacteria - which in turn trigger the darkening of deeper waters with the consequent death of the Posidonia sp. and Caulerpa sp. communities that provide oxygen to the water. The presence of toxins and the limitation of oxygen in the water negatively affects the entire trophic chain, including fish.

Examples of this climatic disaster are Lake Atitlán in Guatemala and the Mar Menor in Spain, where excess Nitrogen and Phosphorus are causing the proliferation of cyanobacteria and consequent deterioration of water quality.

One of the solutions to these problems is the use of new methods of nutrient supply, such as the use of microorganism-based biofertilizers that make nutrients bioavailable to the root system without the need to apply synthetic fertilizers.

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Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik

Source: Ag News

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