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Release Characteristics of Nutrients from Polymer-coated Compound Controlled Release Fertilizers


Reliable information regarding release characteristics of nutrients from a polymer-coated controlled release fertilizer (CRF) is essential for beneficial agronomic and environmental results. Significant knowledge regarding nitrogen release from polymer-coated urea was gained while the information regarding the release of the different nutrients contained in polymer-coated compound N–P–K CRF remains limited. An experiment in which major factors affecting the differential release of nutrients from two coated compound CRF was performed in free water, water saturated sand and sand at field capacity. In general, nitrate release was the fastest, followed by ammonium and potassium whereas phosphate was significantly slower, with a rate of linear release in free water 45–70% slower than that of nitrate. Little differences were obtained for the lag periods of nitrate, ammonium and potassium release (2–10 days) under the experimental conditions, whereas for P they were one order of magnitude larger. The main factor slowing the release was assumed to be the lower solubility of ions with P being the least soluble. Release into free water was, expectedly, somewhat faster than that into saturated sand and significantly faster as compared to sand at field capacity and particularly so for P. Raising the temperature from 20 °C to 40 °C increased the rate of linear release of the different nutrients. The energy of activation, EArel, estimated for the linear release, of the different nutrients, was narrow ranging between 37 to 46 (KJ mol−1) whereas the mean values obtained for the two CRF, differing by 50% in coating thickness, was non-significant. However, EArel was significantly different in different media. The complex effect of temperature on the lag period and nutrient interactions during release deserve further investigation.

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We are thankful to the financial support by National Natural Science Foundation (No. 30400273) and National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2005CB121102).

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Correspondence to Chang-wen Du.

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Du, Cw., Zhou, Jm. & Shaviv, A. Release Characteristics of Nutrients from Polymer-coated Compound Controlled Release Fertilizers. J Polym Environ 14, 223–230 (2006).

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  • Polymer
  • Controlled release
  • Nutrients
  • Medium
  • Model