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Urease activity in soil under application of Zn and NBPT stabilized fertilizers

Grant number: 22/09537-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2022
Effective date (End): August 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Soil Science
Principal Investigator:Izaias Pinheiro Lisboa
Grantee:Laura Ribeiro de Abreu
Host Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil


Urea is the nitrogen source most used in Brazilian and world agriculture; however, overall the Nitrogen Use efficiency (NUE) by plants is low when urea is the N-fertilizer used, especially when the aforementioned fertilizer is applied over the soil surface. In order to reduce volatilization losses, urease inhibitors, such as N-(n-butyl) thiophosphoric triamide (NBPT), mitigates ammonia volatilization and, as consequence, NUE is increased, but N may not be the most limiting factor to obtain high crop yield. In this sense, the association of more than one nutrient within a single fertilizer can enhance plant nutritional status and, potentially, crop yields. Zinc (Zn) is a urease's activity inhibitor and the micronutrient is also associated with protein synthesis, which indirectly can improve NUE. The hypothesis of this project is that the association of NBPT and different sources of Zn within the urea will reduce the urease activity in the soil, thus, that association potentially will lead to the enhanced efficiency ilizer development. Thus, it will be evaluated urea granulated with different sources of Zn [ZnSO4, ZnO (macrometric scale), and ZnO (nanometric scale)], added individually at three concentrations, to state: 0.5, 1, and 1.5%. The association of Zn and NBPT it is expected to reduce urease activity and thereafter ammonia volatilization from the agroecosystem when urea is applied, while the bioavailability of Zn and NUE are enhanced. As a consequence of this outcoming, undesirable consequences of N-fertilizer are reduced. Finally, it is expected that the enhanced-efficiency N fertilizer produced (granulated urea with ZnO nanoparticles) can be a promising alternative to arouse the fertilizer industry's interest. (AU)

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