The fate of nitrogen of ammonium phosphate fertilizers: A blind spot

Andrew J. Margenot, Jeonggu Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Ammonium phosphate fertilizers are a common phosphorus (P) source for crops, namely monoammonium phosphate, diammonium phosphate, and ammonium polyphosphate. Despite containing appreciable nitrogen (N), ammonium phosphate fertilizers are generally considered P fertilizers. However, the approximately 8.5 million Mg N co-applied with P annually as ammonium phosphate fertilizers represents 8% of global N fertilizer input flux to agroecosystems. Despite this, a systematic review of the literature revealed only one direct assessment of N losses from ammonium phosphate fertilizers. An additional five studies reported NO3-N leaching and N2O-N emissions from soils fertilized with ammonium phosphates, but inadvertently as observations from failed or control treatments that are confounded (e.g., not accounting for non-fertilizer contributions to N losses). The magnitude and fate of N co-applied with P in ammonium phosphate fertilizers is a blind spot in agroecosystem N budgets and environmental footprints that necessitates quantification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20116
JournalAgricultural and Environmental Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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