VFRC Publications - Page 20

Initial VFRC Focus The fertilizer industry emphasizes the improvement of industrial production technologies for current fertilizers, while agronomic research by the private and public sector on application methods of mineral and recycled fertilizers is abundant. VFRC therefore emphasizes its scientific explorations for arriving at innovative fertilizer products and technologies to the following four components. Uptake Packaging Tuning the type, amount and timing of nutrients to plants’ ecophysiological needs calls for understanding uptake mechanisms that include excretion of exudates, interactions with microorganisms and entry points of nutrients into the plant, along with nutrient dynamics and metabolic processes during crop growth. The chemical format in which nutrients are “packaged” as fertilizers has to advance from purely physicochemical processes to advanced chemistry, bio-chemistry and bio-nano-chemistry to better suit the uptake mechanisms and metabolic processes of the plant while not harming soil-plant-microbe interactions. Delivery The insights on uptake and packaging will allow exploitation of all feasible mechanisms for delivering nutrients to the plant, including roots, leaves, stems and seeds. Context Auxiliary information about geo-spatial soil physical and chemical properties, weather conditions and the cropping system will support the optimal use of innovative fertilizer products. Seven-weeks-old soybean plants foliar-treated with different crop nutrition products including, differently packaged micronutrients, to evaluate effects on growth, yield and nutritional content. 16