Nanosized fertilizers are the new frontier of nanotechnology towards a sustainable agriculture.
Here, an efficient N-nanofertilizer is obtained by post-synthetic modification (PSM) of nitrate-doped
amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) nanoparticles (NPs) with urea. The unwasteful PSM protocol
leads to N-payloads as large as 8.1 w/w%, is well replicated by using inexpensive technical-grade
reagents for cost-effective up-scaling and moderately favours urea release slowdown. Using the PSM
approach, the N amount is ca. 3 times larger than that obtained in an equivalent one-pot synthesis
where urea and nitrate are jointly added during the NPs preparation. In vivo tests on cucumber
plants in hydroponic conditions show that N-doped ACP NPs, with half absolute N-content than in
conventional urea treatment, promote the formation of an equivalent amount of root and shoot
biomass, without nitrogen depletion. The high nitrogen use efficiency (up to 69%) and a cost-effective
preparation method support the sustainable real usage of N-doped ACP as a nanofertilizer.
Department of Science and High Technology and To.Sca.Lab, University of Insubria, Via Valleggio 11, 22100, Como, Italy
Copyright: doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-83048-9 © The Author(s) 2021