Crop Science pp 361-382 | Cite as

Fertilizer Science and Technology

  • J. F. AngusEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology Series book series (ESSTS)


Essential nutrients

There are 16 mineral elements that are essential for plant growth and almost all are supplied in fertilizer. They are referred to here by their symbols: nitrogen: N, phosphorus: P, potassium: K, calcium: Ca, magnesium: Mg, sulfur: S, boron: B, iron: Fe, manganese: Mn, copper: Cu, zinc: Zn, molybdenum: Mo, sodium: Na, chlorine: Cl; Silicon: Si, nickel: Ni.

Fertilizer efficiency

This refers to the additional grain or other agricultural product produced per unit of additional nutrient applied in fertilizer. A related concept is Fertilizer recovery, which is the additional mass of a nutrient in the above-ground parts of a crop expressed as a proportion of the additional nutrient applied in fertilizer.


N, P, and K.


Cl, Fe, Mn, B, Zn, Cu, Mo, Na, Ni, and Si.

Minor nutrients

Ca, Mg, and S.

Soil microbial processes

These include mineralization, which is oxidation of organic matter and the release of mineral nutrients, immobilization...


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Books and Reviews

  1. Bacon PE (ed) (1995) Nitrogen fertilization in the environment. Marcel Dekker, New YorkGoogle Scholar
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  5. Snyder CS (2017) Progress in reducing nutrient loss in the Mississippi river Basin - but effects on Gulf hypoxia still lag. ($FILE/IssueReview-EN-14065.pdf)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CSIRO Agriculture and FoodCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.EH Graham CentreCharles Sturt UniversityWagga WaggaAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Roxana Savin
    • 1
  • Gustavo Slafer
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Crop and Forest Sciences and AGROTECNIO, (Center for Research in Agrotechnology)University of LleidaLleidaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Crop and Forest SciencesUniversity of LleidaLleidaSpain

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