Performance of Urea-Based Fertilizers Associated With Elemental Sulfur or Polymers on Ammonia Volatilization

  •  Odirley Rodrigues Campos    
  •  Edson Marcio Mattiello    
  •  Wedisson Oliveira Santos    
  •  Reinaldo Bertola Cantarutti    
  •  Rafael Coca Cuesta    
  •  Fabiane Carvalho Ballotin    


High N-NH3 losses are expected when conventional urea is applied to the soil surface. In order to reduce it, urea granules could be coated with different materials to decrease fertilizer dissolution rate or to stabilize N-NH4+ by acidification. In this study, we investigated the effect of a polymer-coated urea and powdered S0 added to urea, in the presence or absence of a S-oxidizing bacterium (Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans), on soil pH, SO42- availability, NH4+, and NH3 volatilization. Applying S0 before urea and the inoculation with bacteria have promoted the highest S0 oxidation rates. The greater decrease in soil pH occurred when S0 was applied before urea at a higher dose, which also decreased NH3 volatilization by 83% up to 4 days after urea application. However, the decrease in soil pH did not increase the concentration of NH4+, nor did it decrease the accumulated amount of volatilized NH3 over time. The inoculation of A. thiooxidans accelerates S0 oxidation process, but it was insufficient to counteract the H+ consumption by urea hydrolysis. Therefore, the S0 application with urea did not offer chemical protection against NH3 loss, but a physical barrier in the controlled-release urea had less dissolved urea in soil and reduced NH3 losses.

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