Artificial or synthetic fertilizers are those manmade synthetic chemicals that provide or supply one or more of the nutrients essential for plant growth. Here we present an overview of artificial fertilizers. Soil health is important for healthy and abundant food. Let’s answer some questions about artificial fertilizers and an overview of its properties.
Forms of Fertilizers
Artificial fertilizers can be in many forms. These fertilizers can be in dry, liquid, slow-release, pelletized, and soluble form. The dry form of fertilizers dissolves in water when plants are irrigated. The liquid form is the most effective which dissolves dissolve very quickly. However, artificial fertilizers in any form show their effects almost quickly.
Experts divide fertilizers into many classes. For example, we call it straight fertilizers when it supplies a single nutrient to plants. These nutrients may be nitrogen, potassium, or any other. Complex fertilizers are those which provide many nutrients at a time. For example, NPK fertilizers provide three nutrients at a time. These are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. The first artificial fertilizer was superphosphate invented by English chemist John Bennet Lawes in 1842.
What element needed the most?
Artificial fertilizers contain those chemical nutrients which are needed by the plants in great amount. For example, nitrogen-containing fertilizers supply nitrogen for synthesizing proteins. Proteins are nitrogen, carbon, oxygen-containing complex compounds providing structural and functional roles. Phosphorus is an essential element for DNA and RNA. Potassium plays an important role in membranes as well as maintaining cellular gradient. All these elements are present in artificial fertilizers, boosting plant growth.
How much effective?
There are very few positive effects of artificial fertilizers. For example, it dissolves quickly than organic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers take time to dissolve and have long term effects.
From the past hundreds of years, humans are cultivating crops. These crops grew on natural fertilizers. Until 1842, the trend was the same. However, onward 1842, an increase in population has certainly increased the demand for food. Humans are trying to grow more crops to compensate for population growth. To grow more crops, we need more fertilizers. These are in the form of artificial fertilizers, however, it has also negative effects. It kills microorganisms which are very beneficial in eliminating dead bodies. Artificial fertilizers cause water pollution. These also increase water toxicity, making it unfit for drinking. When it leaches into water bodies, it disturbs aquatic ecosystems. Moreover, upon a complex chain of disorders, it interrupts hemoglobin causing different human disorders. Artificial fertilizers negatively affect the respiratory system.
In the future, there is an intense need to manufacture such fertilizers which have more positive and less negative effects. Funding agencies must flow their funds in such cases and we must encourage and appreciate scientists in this regard.
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