An Indian agro-scientist has innovated nano-fertilisers using biosynthesis, for the first time in the world.
The newly developed nano-fertiliser will bring down the use of chemical fertilisers by 80-100 times, thus saving considerable foreign exchange in import of fertilisers, a report in the Indian Science Journal (ISJ) web site has revealed.
India is the second biggest consumer of fertilisers in the world and it imports almost the entire supply of non-urea fertilisers. Import of urea during the current financial year upto January, 2014 was 67.98 lakh metric tonnes, worth U.S. dollar 1,922.27 million.
The new variant of fertiliser was developed by Dr JC Tarafdar of the Central Arid Zone Research Institute under the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI).
The fertiliser was prepared by developing a methodology to use microbial enzymes for breakdown of the respective salts into nano-form.
Dr Tarafdar told ISJ that the newly developed fertiliser is 2-4 times less expensive compared to chemical fertilisers.
He said it increases Nutrient Use Efficiency (NUE) by three-fold and 10 times more stress tolerant. Dr Tarafdar pioneered nano-fertilisers in India and for the first time in the world developed biosynthesis process to make nano-fertilisers.
"Since it is complete bio-source, nano-fertiliser is eco-friendly and improves soil aggregation, moisture retention and carbon build-up.There is no health hazard and is suitable for all crop varieties including foodgrains, vegetables and horticulture," said Dr Tarafdar.
While the cost of Nano Phosphorus per hectare is just Rs.352-396, depending upon the leaf size of the plants, that of SSP is Rs. 480-640 and DAP is Rs. 1500-2000 (both after subsidy). The Nutrient Use Efficiency (NUE) of nano-fertiliser is 58-51 per cent, it is 15-16 per cent for both SSP and DAP.
Nano-fertilisers are more beneficial as compared to chemical fertilisers - (i) Three-times increase in Nutrient Use Efficiency (NUE); (ii) 80-100 times less requirement to chemical fertilisers; (iii) 10 times more stress tolerant by the crops; (iv) Complete bio-source, so eco-friendly; (v) 30% more nutrient mobilisation by the plants;(vi) 17-54 % improvement in the crop yield and; (vii) Improvement in soil aggregation, moisture retention and carbon build up
The yield per hectare is also much higher than conventional fertilisers, thus giving higher returns to the farmers.
IARI has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Secunderabad-based Prathista Industries Limited, for commercially exploitation of the process.