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Fertilisers, Discuss;

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Introduction

Fertilisers; discuss Fertilisers are compounds of different nutrients given to plants with the intention of promoting growth; they are usually applied via the soil, for uptake by plant roots. Their primary purpose is to increase the rate at which photosynthesis occurs in different types of crops. To do this they add three major plant nutrients, potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as several secondary plant nutrients like calcium, magnesium and sulphur. 1 There are two different types of fertilisers. The first and the one in longest use is organic fertiliser. The most popular organic fertiliser is manure, which is made by compacting different layers of faeces, urine, hay, dirt and several other nutritious ingredients. The drawbacks with using organic fertilisers are that there is no means of telling how much of what nutrient is present. They also compete with heavy machinery which produces their Chemical counterpart. Inorganic fertilisers, however, are created by a factorial process and each selection of fertiliser contains the same amount of nutrients as another sample. They are measured using a three element scale, NPK. NPK fertilisers can be manufactured with different percentages of each nutrient; 5-10-5 for example would have ten percent phosphate in its ingredients. Nitrogen is a primary compound in fertilisers and is also counted as a hazard to the environment. ...read more.

Middle

When it comes to dispersion, organic fertilisers have a harder time because they're compressed into large clumps. Breaking up these lumps may be done to spread out the fertiliser further. However, one piece may have an unbalanced amount of nutrients. Inorganic fertilisers excel at this because they are easily distributed, since they are smaller and granular. They also contain the same proportion of nutrients per granule. 3 The drawback with being dispersible is the capability to still be able to be moved around after it has been scattered across the fields. As mentioned above, rainfall is easily able to whisk away the inorganic fertiliser and take it to a nearby water source. Scientists are working on a means to get plants to create their own source of nitrogen, which would mean farmers could dispense with using inorganic nitrogen fertilisers, which also in turn would mean less eutrophication in nearby water sources. This operation to genetically engineer plants to make their own source of nitrogen is also a cause for concern because it plans to use the herbicide (plant killer) 2,4-D - 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (C8H6Cl2O3) is usually used in the control of weeds such as the broadleaf. 2,4-D is a herbicide which has acute gaps in the research fields concerning human responses. ...read more.

Conclusion

While this is a common and lethal blow to the environment, it is far more popular with fertilisers whom have had nutrients artificially implanted within the actual fertiliser. Since organic fertiliser contains a low amount of this (some having been ingested through animals), they would cause the soil to be less eutrophic. In addition, the weight of organic fertiliser will reduce the run-off due to the bulk of it.8 However, in terms of product output of the cereal crops, Inorganic fertilisers are more efficient due to the fact that organic fertiliser cannot be created in the quantities needed to fertilise the crops needed to feed our ever-growing population, and although inorganic has several major hazards to its use, scientists are always coming up with different ways to counteract the leeching and poisoning which is a result of natural events such as rainfall. This combined with individual scientific research is increasing the popularity of inorganic fertiliser. _____________________________________________________________________ List of Sources 1 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertilisers - Internet 2 - http://www.westsidegardener.com/guides/whyorganicfertilizer.html - Internet 3 - http://www.ballance.co.nz/images/pdfs/handbook/section6.pdf - Book (Typed up book) 4 - Longman Study guides - Biology - by Alan Cornwell and Ruth Miller (page 237. The quote next to the 2nd paragraph about nitrates) - Book 5 - http://www.newscientist.com/unpwlogin.ns;jsessionid=OKKNOJGELGPP - Journal 6 - http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg16321972.200.html - Journal 7 - http://www.pan-uk.org/pestnews/Actives/24d.htm - Website concerning 2,4-D 8 - Biology for schools and colleges - Colin Clegg Page - 322 (Excess nutrients that cause eutrophication) - book _____________________________________________________________________ ...read more.

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