Using urea

Scientists at the Central Institute for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), Lucknow, have developed a new technology that allows plants to utilise the urea present in fertilisers more efficiently. A substantial part of urea, when added as fertiliser, is lost in the atmosphere. Urea is broken down to ammonia by a process called hydrolysis and oxides of nitrogen through the nitrification process, which makes it unavailable to plants.

"The new process could reduce hydrolysis of urea by 30 per cent and nitrification by 40 per cent,' says Sushil Kumar, director, CIMAP. The new process involves coating urea with some plant extracts that enhance its availability in soil. The scientists claim that the new technology, which awaits commercialisation, could help to reduce the input of urea in the soil ( PTI Science Service , Vol 18, No 13).

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