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Addition of micronutrientes in urea to reduce ammonia volatilization losses and increase corn (Zea mays L.) yield

Grant number: 22/07574-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2022
Effective date (End): February 28, 2026
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Soil Science
Principal Investigator:Rafael Otto
Grantee:Bruno Maia Abdo Rahmen Cassim
Host Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil


Urea is the most commonly used nitrogen fertilizer to supply nitrogen (N) to plants. However, when applied on the soil surface, urea is hydrolyzed by the urease enzyme and lost by ammonia (NH3-N) volatilization, causing environmental, economic and human health problems. The N-N-(n-butyl) thiophosphoric triamide (NBPT) urease inhibitor is widely used to reduce NH3-N losses, but gains in yield are not always observed, since N may not be the limiting factor. On the other hand, micronutrients such as boron (B), zinc (Zn), nickel (Ni) and molybdenum (Mo) can inhibit the urease enzyme and simultaneously serve as plant nutrients. The hypothesis of this project is that urea granulated with micronutrients (B, Zn, Ni or Mo) and coated or not with NBPT will enable the production of new nitrogen enhanced efficiency fertilizers that present a reduction in losses by volatilization of NH3-N and an increase in the corn (Zea mays L.) yield. The study will be conducted in four stages: i) Omission of nutrients N, B, Zn, Ni and Mo, in corn plants grown in nutrient solution; ii) Production, physical and chemical characterization of new nitrogen fertilizers; iii) Determination of N-NH3 volatilization in a controlled environment and iv) Evaluation of yield and nutritional status of corn plants grown in two distinct soil (clayey soil and sandy soil). At this stage, the volatilization of NH3-N in the field will also be evaluated. The results will enable the understanding of which micronutrient used in urea granulation is more efficient in reducing NH3-N losses and increasing corn yield. Furthermore, the results showed if there is a need to maintain the NBPT coating on urea granulated with B, Zn, Ni or Mo. It is expected that the fertilizers developed in this study may arouse the interest of the industry for large-scale production and use in agriculture.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
MINATO, EVANDRO ANTONIO; BESEN, MARCOS RENAN; NETO, MICHEL ESPER; CASSIM, BRUNO MAIA ABDO RAHMEN; ZAMPAR, EDER JUNIOR DE OLIVEIRA; INOUE, TADEU TAKEYOSHI; BATISTA, MARCELO AUGUSTO. Ammonia volatilization and nitrogen status in second-season corn after lime and gypsum application in no-till. ACTA SCIENTIARUM-AGRONOMY, v. 45, p. 11-pg., . (22/07574-1)

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