Potential of Alginate and Mesoporous Carbon to Improve the Fertilizer Value of Urea

V. L.N. Nunes, R. L. Mulvaney, J. Tronto, R. B. Cantarutti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mesoporous C (MC) has potential for controlling NH3 volatilization from fertilizer urea because of a high capacity for sorption of ions and gases, and so does sodium alginate (SA), a natural superabsorbent that has received considerable attention for developing slow-release fertilizers. Following stirred-flow experiments to evaluate both amendments for slowing urea release in water, novel studies were conducted that determined their impact on transformations of urea N during aerobic incubation of a sand and silt loam using 15N tracer techniques to unambiguously differentiate fertilizer from soil N. Neither amendment showed appreciable slow-release behavior nor had any significant effect on urea N transformations in the silt loam; however, NH3 volatilization from the sand was significantly decreased by up to 47% with SA and by up to 38% with MC, while SA also significantly increased NO3 production by 42–114%. Taken together with the inherent advantages of a natural material that is widely available, economical, and biodegradable, the results reported indicate that SA has more potential than MC for enhancing the fertilizer value of urea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2257-2269
Number of pages13
JournalCommunications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 24 2020


  • Urea-N transformations
  • ammonia volatilization
  • incubation study
  • n
  • stirred-flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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