Agri Business

UoH-ARCI team develops nano-DAP fertiliser with enhanced agronomic use

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on July 04, 2021

A group of researchers at University of Hyderabad (UoH) and International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) have co-developed nano-DAP fertilizer with enhanced agronomic use efficiency.

Generally, chemical fertiliser applications are used as they are critical to boosting crop productivity.

Besides improved varieties and better irrigation methods, one of the factors that contributed to the enhanced crop productivity during the green revolution and afterward is the application of chemical Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) fertilizers. However, excessive use of these chemicals over decades has affected the soil quality. A concerted effort is on to cut down the use of chemical fertilisers in agriculture.

Global P reserves are finite and likely to be irreversibly exhausted in the next 100-200 years. These resources are also asymmetrically distributed globally. Therefore, long-term planning for the uninterrupted supply of P-fertilisers either by securing P-reserves or cutting down P-use in agriculture is crucial to food security and agriculture sustainability.

According to the report, countries like India, which lack big natural P-reserves and meets its P-fertilisers demand by importing the maximum amount of rock phosphates in different forms, need to focus on this area.

In this innovative collaborative research, a team led by Dr Rahul Kumar and involving both material scientists and plant biologists from the UoH and ARCI, first developed an industrially viable dry method to generate chemically stable and 5000 times smaller nano-diammonium phosphate (n-DAP) fertiliser.

Subsequent testing of both types of fertilisers on tomato and wheat seedlings demonstrated an extraordinary superiority of nano-DAP fertiliser over the conventional granular DAP (c-DAP). By testing four different procedures for the nano-DAP dispersal, the team even recommends the best method of its application. In the lab-scale experiments, the reduced quantity of nano-DAP fertiliser input than c-DAP promoted the early seedlings growth and development in both crops. It also led to enhanced phosphate uptake efficiency in these seedlings.

Cryo-milling of granular DAP was done at ARCI, Hyderabad. With nano-DAP, tomato seedings show better growth and develop more foliage. Based on promising results in the lab-scale experiments, the research team is now planning to test the efficacy of nano-DAP on tomato plants under field conditions.

This work “Cryo-milled nano-DAP for enhanced growth of monocot and dicot plants” by Naorem Ronald Reagan Singh et al, June 2021 has been published in Nanoscale Advances, a scientific journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK.

Published on July 04, 2021

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