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The uses of Ammonia

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The uses of Ammonia, Nitric Acid and Sulphuric Acid in the manufacture of inorganic fertilisers Why are they required, are there any problems with their use, e.g pollution, if so, how are they overcome? By Laura Bateman Fertilisers are compounds given to plants to promote growth, they are usually applied either through the soil for uptake by plant roots, or by foliar feeding for uptake through leaves. Fertilizers can be organic (composed of organic matter), or inorganic (made of simple, inorganic chemicals or minerals). They can be naturally occurring compounds such as peat or mineral deposits, or manufactured through natural processes (such as composting) or chemical processes (such as the Haber process). They typically provide, in varying proportions, the three major plant nutrients- nitrogen, phosphorus, Potassium (N-P-K), the secondary plant nutrients- calcium, sulphur, magnesium (Ca-S-Mg) and sometimes trace elements or micronutrients with a role in plant nutrition (Boron-B, Chlorine-Cl, Manganese-Mn, Iron-Fe, Zinc-Zn, Copper-Cu and Molybdenum-Mo). ...read more.


There are many problems associated to using these inorganic fertilisers, here are to name a few. Inorganic fertilisers sometimes do not replace trace mineral elements in the soil which become gradually depleted by crops grown there. This has been linked to studies which have shown a marked fall ( up to 75% ) in the quantities of such minerals present in fruit and vegetables. The problem of over fertilisation is primarily associated with the use of artificial fertilisers, because of the massive quantities applied and the destructive nature of chemical fertilisers on soil nutrient holding structures. The high solubility's of chemical fertilisers also exuberate their tendency to degrade ecosystems. Storage and application of some nitrogen fertilisers in some weather or soil conditions can cause emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrious oxide (N2O). Ammonia gas (NH3) may be emitted following application of inorganic fertilisers, or manure or slurry. ...read more.


The compound is not persistent and the buffering capacity of the soil and water is likely to return the pH to an acceptable level within a relatively short period. Sulphuric acid is known to break down relatively quickly, reducing the possibilities with long tem effects on the environment. The growth of the worlds population to its current figure has only been possible through intensification of agriculture associated with the use of fertilisers. There is an impact on the sustainable consumption of other global resources as a consequence. The use of fertilisers on a global scale emits significant quantities of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. Emissions come about through the use of fertilisers that use nitric acid or ammonium bicarbonate, the production and application of which results in emissions of nitrogen oxides, nitrous oxide, ammonia and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. By changing processes and procedure, it is possible to mitigate some, but not all, of these effects on anthropogenic climate change. ...read more.

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