Istituto di Cristallografia - CNR

Urea-functionalized amorphous calcium phosphate nanofertilizers: optimizing the synthetic strategy towards environmental sustainability and manufacturing costs

Nanosized fertilizers are the new frontier of nanotechnology towards a sustainable agriculture. Here, an efficient N-nanofertilizer is obtained by post-synthetic modification (PSM) of nitrate-doped amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) nanoparticles (NPs) with urea. The unwasteful PSM protocol leads to N-payloads as large as 8.1 w/w%, is well replicated by using inexpensive technical-grade reagents for cost-effective up-scaling and moderately favours urea release slowdown. Using the PSM approach, the N amount is ca. 3 times larger than that obtained in an equivalent one-pot synthesis where urea and nitrate are jointly added during the NPs preparation. In vivo tests on cucumber plants in hydroponic conditions show that N-doped ACP NPs, with half absolute N-content than in conventional urea treatment, promote the formation of an equivalent amount of root and shoot biomass, without nitrogen depletion. The high nitrogen use efficiency (up to 69%) and a cost-effective preparation method support the sustainable real usage of N-doped ACP as a nanofertilizer.

Scientific reports (Nature Publishing Group)
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Carmona F.J.; Dal Sasso G.; Ramirez-Rodriguez G.B.; Pii Y.; Delgado-Lopez J.M.; Guagliardi A.; Masciocchi N.
Autori IC CNR