The patent's assignee for patent number 8617284 is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Nutrient availability in the soil-plant system is dictated by complex interactions between plant roots, soil microorganisms, chemical reactions and pathways of losses. The macronutrients required by the plant can be lost by chemical processes such as exchange, fixation, precipitation and hydrolysis, and physical processes such as leaching, runoff and volatilization. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK), which are required in large amounts for plants, are not adequately available in natural soils to support the sustained growth of plants. Therefore, these macronutrients (NPK) are needed to be applied externally through fertilizers. Water soluble conventional fertilizers typically result in a large amount of macronutrients being lost by leaching and evaporation. There is an increased interest in developing slow release fertilizers that release macronutrients to plants over time. Advantages of slow release fertilizers are improved efficiency and quality as the fertilizer is released over time thus providing sufficient quantities of macronutrients as required for higher crop yields. In addition, slow release fertilizers result in reduced environmental damage from leaching of macronutrients into water and emissions as gasses, compared to conventional water soluble fertilizers.
"Macronutrients in fertilizers can be applied to the soil as a solid in the form of a powder or pellets or as a spray. The uptake of macronutrients by the plant needs to be compensated by their external application to the soil periodically. Nitrogen is a key macronutrient source in agriculture particularly for economic crops such as tea, rubber and coconut. Large amount of fertilizer is applied to the soil of the tea plant to improve the quality and the yield of the leaves produced. For example, a study in
"Coconut plants require an equatorial climate with high humidity to grow. Coconut plants and trees are grown in different soil types such as laterite, coastal sandy, alluvial, and also in reclaimed soils of the marshy lowlands. One of the unique features of coconut trees and plants are that it tolerates salinity and a wide range of pH (from 5.0-8.0). In terms of fertilizer application, the amount of N, P, and K required varies according to the type of coconut plantation. In addition Mg may become important in some soils.
"Therefore, one of the unsolved problems of fertilizer application is, in relation to the amounts of nitrogen applied to soil, the low Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) by crops. This is because an excessive amount of nitrogen, up to 70%, is lost in conventional fertilizers due to leaching, emissions, and long-term incorporation by soil microorganisms. As such, supplying N macronutrient is critical in preventing the decline of productivity and profitability due to degradation and aging of tea plants (Kamau et al.,
"US2006/0135365 discloses wood chips containing macronutrient salts for short term plant growth and release of macronutrients over a period of one week. U.S. Pat. No. 7,165,358 disclose woodchips as a substrate for macronutrients for plant growth. U.S. Pat. No. 2,714,553 disclose converting wood lignin to sugar and forming a urea-formaldehyde condensation product for macronutrient delivery. U.S. Pat. No. 6,900,162 discloses a composition containing nitrogen particles adhered by a binder degraded by soil moisture to provide for the slow release. U.S. Pat. No. 7,211,275 B2 discloses a sustained release composite of water soluble materials that are adsorbed onto an inorganic material and is released by acidic fluids in medical applications.
"Solutions are needed to provide slow and sustained release macronutrient formulations for plant growth applications. Therefore, macronutrients incorporated into cavities present in wood could be used to provide slow and sustained release of macronutrients for plant growth."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Accordingly provided herein is a macronutrient delivery system that contains nitrogen containing macronutrient compound adsorbed on the surface of hydroxyapatite phosphate (HAP) nanoparticles. These macronutrient adsorbed HAP nanoparticles are encapsulated within the cavities present in wood. Alternatively, macronutrient particles have been encapsulated within the cavities present in wood followed by a thin coating of cellulose modified HAP nanoparticles. In an embodiment, nitrogen containing macronutrient compounds such as urea, thiourea, or a mixture thereof are adsorbed onto the surface of HAP nanoparticles and encapsulated within the cavities present in wood. Also disclosed herein is a process for the encapsulation of macronutrient adsorbed HAP nanoparticles/macronutrients within the cavities present in wood. The encapsulated macronutrient adsorbed nanoparticles or macronutrients encapsulated nanoparticle coated compounds prepared by this process when applied to aqueous and terrestrialenvironments released the macronutrient in a slow and sustained manner. It is believed that macronutrient adsorbed HAP nanoparticles or macronutrient particles that are included in the cavities of the wood provide for the release of the macronutrient compound in aqueous and terrestrial environments. The soil in aqueous and terrestrial environments provides the medium for transport of the macronutrients to the roots of the plant. Embodiment plants and trees include and are not limited to any crop that grows in a low pH environment (low pH crop) such as tea, rubber and coconut."
For additional information on this patent, see: Kottegoda, Nilwala; Munaweera, Imalka; Samaranayake, Lilantha; Gunasekara, Sunanda;
Keywords for this news article include: Nitrogen, Fertilizers, Nanoparticle, Agrochemicals, Emerging Technologies,
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