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Ammonia Volatilization from Fertilizer Urea—A New Challenge for Agriculture and Industry in View of Growing Global Demand for Food and Energy Crops

Maria Skorupka () and Artur Nosalewicz ()
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Maria Skorupka: Institute of Agrophysics Polish Academy of Sciences, Doświadczalna 4, 20-290 Lublin, Poland
Artur Nosalewicz: Institute of Agrophysics Polish Academy of Sciences, Doświadczalna 4, 20-290 Lublin, Poland

Agriculture, 2021, vol. 11, issue 9, 1-15

Abstract: The growing world population and the necessity to meet its nutritional needs despite the limited area of agricultural land pose a serious challenge for agriculture. Agriculture is responsible for 80–95% of total ammonia emissions to the atmosphere, but at the same time it has great potential to reduce them. Fertilisation with mineral nitrogen (in particular urea) is responsible for 19.0–20.3% of total ammonia emissions emitted from agriculture. Ammonia emissions have a negative impact on the environment and human health, therefore it is important to minimize the volatilization of ammonia and increase fertiliser efficiency. This is important due to the need to mitigate the negative impact of anthropopressure on the environment in terms of air pollution, negative effect on soils and waters. The application of urease inhibitors during fertilisation with nitrogen fertilisers is one method to reduce ammonia emissions from plant production. Another option to achieve this goal is to reverse the global trend toward maximizing the production of energy crops (intensive fertilisation inevitably increasing ammonia emissions to the environment) for the production of biofuels, which is growing rapidly, taking up arable land that could be used for food production. The aim of the review is to identify the impact of recently introduced technologies for reducing ammonia emissions from urea on agricultural productivity, environment, and crops. It is of importance to reconsider optimization of crop production in arable land, possible owing to the progress in the production, modification, and application of mineral fertilisers and changes in crop structure. A broad debate is necessary with policymakers and stakeholders to define new targets allowing introduction of technologies for conversion of energy crops into energy with a minimal impact on food production and environmental issue.

Keywords: ammonia emission; urease inhibitors; biofuels; food production; bioenergy crops; N fertilisers (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q1 Q10 Q11 Q12 Q13 Q14 Q15 Q16 Q17 Q18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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