Rate of hydrolysis of urea as influenced by thiourea and pellet size
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Two incubation experiments and a number of field experiments were conducted to determine the effect of soil moisture tension, pellet size and addition of thiourea to urea on the rate of urea hydrolysis. In the incubation experiments at 20°C, the rate of hydrolysis of urea increased from 15 bar to 1/3 bar soil moisture tension, with the largest change (doubling) occurring from 15 bar to 7 bar moisture tension. Increasing pellet size reduced the rate of urea hydrolysis by about 12% with urea pellets weighing 0.21 g as compared to 0.01 g urea pellets after 114h. When thiourea (a metabolic inhibitor) was pelleted with urea in a ratio of two parts urea and one part thiourea, the rate of hydrolysis was halved.
In a field experiment, the addition of thiourea to urea and increasing pellet size suppressed the rate of urea hydrolysis considerably for 8 days. The amount of urea hydrolyzed with urea+thiourea (2∶1) pellets weighing 2.51 g was one-fourth of the amount of urea hydrolyzed with 0.01 g pellets of urea alone. In the other six field experiments which were set out in October, only 22% to 39% of urea +thiourea (2∶1) was hydrolyzed at two weeks after application, while almost all of the urea was hydrolyzed when it was mixed into the soil without an inhibitor.
Unter our field conditions, we would estimate that the hydrolysis of urea can be inhibited for at least one week. The inhibition of urea hydrolysis appears to be great enough that the problems encountered from the rapid hydrolysis of urea, wherever these occur, may be reduced by combined use of thiourea and either increased pellet size or band placement.
Key WordsHydrolysis Inhibition of hydrolysis Pellets Placement Thiourea Urea
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