, Volume 155-156, Issue 1, pp 371-373

Use of urease inhibitors to reduce ammonia loss following application of urea to flooded rice fields

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Ammonia (NH3) volatilization is an important mechanism for nitrogen (N) loss from flooded rice fields following the application of urea into the floodwater. One method of reducing losses is to use a urease inhibitor that retards the hydrolysis of urea by soil urease and allows the urea to diffuse deeper into the soil. The two chemicals that have shown most promise are phenylphosphorodiamidate [PPD] and N(n-butyl)thiophosphorictriamide [NBPT], but they seldom work effectively. PPD decomposes rapidly when the pH departs from neutrality, and NBPT must be converted to the oxygen analogue for it to be effective. Our field studies in Thailand show that the activity of PPD can be prolonged, and NH3 loss markedly reduced, by controlling the floodwater pH with the algicide terbutryn. A mixture of NBPT and PPD in the presence of terbutryn was even more effective than PPD alone. It appears that during the time when the PPD was effective, NBPT was being converted to the oxygen analogue. The combined urease inhibitor-algicide treatment reduced NH3 loss from 10 to 0.4 kg N ha-1.