Nano-fertilizers – the future has come
Food is a basic need of a human, without which he cannot begin to satisfy the others. By Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, without food, a person cannot feel them safe, enjoy the culture, study new, or express himself in the struggle for a common cause. In addition, this is true, because in the absence of a full-fledged, healthy and high-quality nutrition, not only the motivation, but also the health status of a person, his health and activity, is reduced. Nano-fertilizers are necessary for the production of nutritious and biologically pure products. According to IGC forecasts, made in January, grain consumption in 2018 will exceed production by 4 million tons. Imagine yourselves that 4 million tons of grain. A city with population of 1 million people consume an average 3000-4000 tons of provision per day.
The United Nation's population division suggested that the global population could peak at seven to eight billion by the middle of the century. The mid-range scenario has the population at around ten billion that is about 150% of population of the world today. However, the increase in crops and livestock production is 1% per year. In addition, with the increase in livestock production, more and more grain and vegetables are consumed.
Nevertheless, the planet has its own plans: every year more and more lands come out of the arable land. One part of the land is deserted, the other is saline, and the third is polluted because of anthropogenic factors. The use of increased doses of fertilizers is not advisable, due to a decrease in the effectiveness of fertilizers with an increase in the amount of their application. Moreover, the use of increased doses of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers pollute underground water and, consequently, lakes and ecosystems.
To produce crops, plants need nutritive elements – essential elements. Essential elements are divided in two groups, according to the required quantity: macroelements (such as oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) and trace elements (calcium, magnesium, iron, sulfur, manganese, borom etc). In other classifications, distinguish meso- and ultramicro-elements, which are presents in nano-fertilizers.
Plants can receive all necessary elements from atmosphere and soil in certain amount. However, if any element is in short supply, the plant deteriorates physiological condition, it can be prone to disease, the harvest will decrease, and its quality will decrease. In this case, even if one element, presented in nano-fertilizers, is missing, the use of a large number of other fertilizers may not have any effect. This principle is called the "barrel of Liebig" (Law of the Libich minimum).
It is for this reason, for the correct use of the macroelements, the plant must be provided with microelements in nano-fertilizer, and their application is necessarily for plants.
From 6 essential macroelements the plant can receive only 3 in a high amount: hydrogen and oxygen from water (H2O), carbon from carbon dioxide (CO2). Nevertheless, the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the soil is limited.
Air composed by 78% of molecular nitrogen (N2), 21% of oxygen (O2) and 1% of other gases. Then why do plants lack nitrogen? The problem is the plants cannot receive nitrogen from air in a high amount, except legumes, who have special formations on the roots – root nodules (Rhizobium). In other cases, the main source is a mineral nitrogen in the soil and nitrogen from nano-fertilizers.
The main advantage and the problem at the same time, of mineral nitrogen lies in the fact that it is in an easily soluble form. One side, plants absorb it easily from the soil with water, the other side, in a case of heavy rains, he dissolved and under the force of gravity goes into the lower layers of the soil, where it becomes inaccessible to plants. Another part of nitrogen is lose by denitrification.
The main reserve of mineral (available) nitrogen for plants is organic matter in the soil. Content of organic matter in the soil is one of the key indicators of soil fertility, so the use of organic nano-fertilizers is the way to increasing soil fertility and its potential.
Plants cannot use simple organic fertilizers, but they can absorb nano-sized organic fertilizers. However, special microbes can convert organic matter to a mineral part, but the number of microbes is too low.
So using a nano-fertilizer with NPK, you can regulate the amount of basic nutritional elements in the soil, which means you can increase yields and the quality of production. Mineral fertilizers consist not 100% of nutritional elements, they have only 1-60% of needed elements. In addition, plant can absorb only 40-50% of nitrogen, 5-15% of phosphorus and 50-60% of potassium from simple mineral fertilizers. Nevertheless, the use of a large number of mineral fertilizers leads to contamination of groundwater and surrounding ecosystems.
A huge impact on the quality of the received grain, fruits and vegetables is the use of nano-fertilizers with trace elements to maintain the balance of the nutrients absorbed by plants.
In general, in the future we have only one way to overcome the possible food crisis: increasing the efficiency of simple fertilizers and using nano-fertilizers:
- Decrease loss of nutrition elements. In achieving this goal, we can use advances in nanotechnology. The fact is that plants need different elements of nutrition in different periods of growth. However, it is not always possible to give fertilizers to plants exactly when it is required, so the main dose of fertilizers introduced in advance, before sowing the crop. In this case, some fertilizers may be lost over time. One way to prevent the loss of nutrients is the encapsulation of nutritional elements in nano-fertilizers. The nutrient becomes accessible to plants when they need it, when the shell (capsule) dissolves gradually, over time.
- Increase the percentage of fertilizer used by the plant. There are 118 chemical elements in the periodic system of elements. The effect of the action on plants is study not for everyone. The use of some elements is impossible on plants because their compounds are insoluble in water. Here the knowledge of nanoparticles comes to our aid again. The fact is that the ions in water-solutions have a size of less than 1 nm and are freely transported inside the plants. However, according to research, plants can absorb particles up to 150 nm in size. Therefore, we can learn the effect of some nutrition elements by mill it to the required size. This allows you to create a more complete balance of macro and microelements for plant nutrition in nano-fertilizers.
- Reducing crop losses by using elements that improve the resistance of plants to pests, diseases and environmental conditions. It has been proved that the use of nano-fertilizers with macro and microelements allows effect not only to obtain a large crop of better quality, but also to increase the resistance of plants during growth to drought, flooding, high or low temperatures and soil and air pollution by toxic substances and heavy metals.
As a result, for correct growth of plants, as well as obtaining large and quality yields, plants, in addition to other conditions, are necessary nano-fertilizers with the correct balance of macro and microelements, nanoelements and organic substances, as well as for a human. All this will not only help plants, but will also make the soil more fertile for future generations.