Food Security

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 273–285 | Cite as

Unlocking the multiple public good services from balanced fertilizers

  • Prem S. BindrabanEmail author
  • Christian O. Dimkpa
  • Scott Angle
  • Rudy Rabbinge


Fertilizers produce over half of the world’s food and permit less encroachment into pristine lands. Yet, the low uptake efficiency by crop plants causes nutrient losses that drive global change. Mitigating measures have been insufficient to address the problems, and policy interventions, NGO involvement, and R&D investments have been too insignificant to transform the fertilizer sector. Here, we discuss the contribution of balanced mineral fertilizers to increasing the nutritional value of crop produce to improve human nutrition and health; healthier plants to reduce biocide use; plant robustness to enhance tolerance to abiotic stresses; and increased metabolite production to improve taste and shelf-life. We reflect on raising awareness about these multiple fertilizer-based public good services for realizing several Sustainable Development Goals which can be achieved through a comprehensive nutrient assessment to catalyze transformation in research, policy and industry.


Micronutrients Plant health Human health Food loss Resilience Innovative fertilizers Sector transformation 



This work was partially supported by funding from USAID’s Feed the Future Soil Fertility Technology Adoption, Policy Reform and Knowledge Management Project and by USDA grant 2016-67021-24985.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature and International Society for Plant Pathology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Prem S. Bindraban
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christian O. Dimkpa
    • 2
  • Scott Angle
    • 2
  • Rudy Rabbinge
    • 3
  1. 1.European-Netherlands Office of International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC)Muscle ShoalsUSA
  2. 2.IFDCMuscle ShoalsUSA
  3. 3.Wageningen University and ResearchWageningenThe Netherlands

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