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John Bennet Lawes, an English entrepreneur, began to experiment on the effects of various manures on plants growing in pots in 1837, and a year or two later the experiments were extended to crops in the field. One immediate consequence was that in 1842 he patented a manure formed by treating phosphates with sulphuric acid, and thus was the first to create the artificial manure industry. In the succeeding year he enlisted the services of Joseph Henry Gilbert, with whom he carried on for more than half a century on experiments in raising crops at the Rothamsted Experimental Station. 10] The Birkeland–Eyde process was one of the competing industrial processes in the beginning of nitrogen based fertilizer production. It was developed by Norwegian industrialist and scientist Kristian Birkeland along with his business partner Sam Eyde in 1903, based on a method used by Henry Cavendish in 1784. [11]

This process was used to fix atmospheric nitrogen (N2) into nitric acid (HNO3), one of several chemical processes generally referred to as nitrogen fixation. The resultant nitric acid was then used as a source of nitrate (NO3-) in the reaction HNO3 > H+ + NO3- hich may take place in the presence of water or another proton acceptor. Nitrate is an ion which plants can absorb. A factory based on the process was built in Rjukan and Notodden in Norway, combined with the building of large hydroelectric power facilities. [12] The Birkeland-Eyde process is relatively inefficient in terms of energy consumption. Therefore, in the 1910s and 1920s, it was gradually replaced in Norway by a combination of the Haber process and the Ostwald process. The Haber process produces ammonia (NH3) from methane (CH4) gas and molecular nitrogen (N2).

The ammonia from the Haber process is then converted into nitric acid (HNO3) in the Ostwald process. [13] ————————————————- Organic fertilizer [edit] Main article: Organic fertilizer Compost bin for small-scale production of organic fertilizer A large commercial compost operation Organic fertilizers include naturally occurring organic materials, (e. g. chicken litter, manure, worm castings, compost, seaweed, guano, bone meal) or naturally occurring mineral deposits (e. g. saltpeter). Poultry litter and cattle manure often create environmental and disposal problems, making their use as fertilizer beneficial.

Bones can be processed into phosphate-rich bone meal; however, most are simply buried in landfills. Even if all bones, human, animal and plant wastes were recovered to the extent practical and used for fertilizer, mineral fertilizers and synthetic nitrogen would still be required to make for losses to leaching, to the atmosphere, runoff and the losses impractical to recover. [citation needed] Benefits of organic fertilizer [edit] Organic fertilizers have been known to improve biodiversity (soil life) and long-term productivity of soil,[45][46] and may prove a large depository for excesscarbon dioxide. 47][48][49] Organic nutrients increase the abundance of soil organisms by providing organic matter and micronutrients for organisms such as fungal mycorrhiza,[50](which aid plants in absorbing nutrients), and can drastically reduce external inputs of pesticides, energy and fertilizer, at the cost of decreased yield. [51] Disadvantages of organic fertilizers [edit] * Organic fertilizers may contain pathogens and other disease causing organisms if not properly composted. [52] * Nutrient contents are variable and their release to available forms that the plant can use may not occur at the right plant growth stage. 53] Comparison with inorganic fertilizer [edit] Organic fertilizer nutrient content, solubility, and nutrient release rates are typically all lower than inorganic fertilizers. [54][55] One study[which? ] found that over a 140-day period, after 7 leachings: * Organic fertilizers had released between 25% and 60% of their nitrogen content * Controlled release fertilizers (CRFs) had a relatively constant rate of release * Soluble fertilizer released most of its nitrogen content at the first leaching In general, the nutrients in organic fertilizer are both more dilute and also much less readily available to plants.

According to the University of California’s integrated pest management program, allorganic fertilizers are classified as ‘slow-release’ fertilizers, and therefore cannot cause nitrogen burn. [56] Organic fertilizers from composts and other sources can be quite variable from one batch to the next. [57] Without batch testing, amounts of applied nutrient cannot be precisely known. Nevertheless, one or more studies have shown they are at least as effective as chemical fertilizers over longer periods of use. 58] Examples of organic fertilizer [edit] Chicken litter, which consists of chicken manure mixed with sawdust, is an organic fertilizer that has been shown to better condition soil for harvest than synthesized fertilizer. Researchers at theAgricultural Research Service (ARS) studied the effects of using chicken litter, an organic fertilizer, versus synthetic fertilizers on cotton fields, and found that fields fertilized with chicken litter had a 12% increase in cotton yields over fields fertilized with synthetic fertilizer.

In addition to higher yields, researchers valued commercially sold chicken litter at a $17/ton premium (to a total valuation of $78/ton) over the traditional valuations of $61/ton due to value added as a soil conditioner. [59] Other ARS studies have found that algae used to capture nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from agricultural fields can not only prevent water contamination of these nutrients, but also can be used as an organic fertilizer.

ARS scientists originally developed the “algal turf scrubber” to reduce nutrient runoff and increase quality of water flowing into streams, rivers, and lakes. They found that this nutrient-rich algae, once dried, can be applied to cucumber and corn seedlings and result in growth comparable to that seen using synthetic fertilizers. [60] Examples * Compost * Rock phosphate * Bone meal[61] * Manure * Alfalfa * Wood chips/sawdust[62] * Raw Langbeinite * Cover crops * Unprocessed natural potassium sulfate * Rock powder * Ash[63] * Blood meal * Fish meal * Fish emulsion[64]

Management Question

Read the journal article and write a research paper based on it.
Your paper should contain the following headings:
Summary of the article
Relevant points made by the author
Critique of the article
Application of the concepts in the article