Urea‑functionalized amorphous calcium phosphate nanofertilizers: optimizing the synthetic strategy towards environmental sustainability and manufacturing costs
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AuthorCarmona Fernández, Francisco Jesús; Ramírez Rodríguez, Gloria Belén; Delgado López, José Manuel
Carmona, F.J., Dal Sasso, G., Ramírez-Rodríguez, G.B. et al. Urea-functionalized amorphous calcium phosphate nanofertilizers: optimizing the synthetic strategy towards environmental sustainability and manufacturing costs. Sci Rep 11, 3419 (2021). [https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-83048-9]
SponsorshipFondazione Cariplo 2016-0648; Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities of Spain (MCIU/AEI/FEDER, UE) RTI-2018-095794-A-C22 RYC-2016-21042; Marie Sklodowska-Curie Standard Fellowships within the European Union research and innovation framework programme (2014-2020) 888972-PSustMOF; Spanish MICIU within the Juan de la Cierva Program (JdC-2017)
Nanosized fertilizers are the new frontier of nanotechnology towards a sustainable agriculture. Here, an efficient N-nanofertilizer is obtained by post-synthetic modification (PSM) of nitrate-doped amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) nanoparticles (NPs) with urea. The unwasteful PSM protocol leads to N-payloads as large as 8.1 w/w%, is well replicated by using inexpensive technical-grade reagents for cost-effective up-scaling and moderately favours urea release slowdown. Using the PSM approach, the N amount is ca. 3 times larger than that obtained in an equivalent one-pot synthesis where urea and nitrate are jointly added during the NPs preparation. In vivo tests on cucumber plants in hydroponic conditions show that N-doped ACP NPs, with half absolute N-content than in conventional urea treatment, promote the formation of an equivalent amount of root and shoot biomass, without nitrogen depletion. The high nitrogen use efficiency (up to 69%) and a cost-effective preparation method support the sustainable real usage of N-doped ACP as a nanofertilizer.