A new generation of Plant Nutrition products presented in Warsaw

13 June 2014

Foliars, micronutrients, Controlled Release Technology

A new generation of liquid foliar fertilizers

In his highly technical and detailed presentation, Dr. Adam Nawrocki presented the new achievements obtained by ADOB. ADOB has one of the most advanced R&D facilities in the world, in terms of innovative formulations of chelated trace-elements. As a result of its years-long cooperation with Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Sabanci University of Istanbul, ADOB created an innovative and unique technology, based on the use of biodegradable tensides. This means that all micro-nutrients belonging to the new "Fertilizer 2.0" series make use and take advantage of new types of adjuvants. When the micro-nutrient product is sprayed on the plants' foliage, these adjuvants serve as surface-active, or wetting agents, thereby reducing the surface tension of the sprayed liquid, and thus, enhance its penetration into the leaf tissue. The other important feature of these new compounds is that when they are left on the leaf surface after their penetration-enabling role has been accomplished, they pass a rather rapid disintegration process. In other words, these adjuvants are completely environment-friendly.

Adam NawrockiThe end-result of this extensive development process is the creation of a new series of liquid fertilizers formulas. Actually, due to the continuous close cooperation between ADOB and BASF, BASF foliar products that are now licensed-manufactured by ADOB, enjoy several additional advanced features. These features include high miscibility and hydrotropic properties within a wide pH range, lower wetting angle, and thus markedly enhance the efficacy of the sprayed solution. The table 1 and photos can illustrate these statements. The photos show clearly the differences between the formulations. While water has high surface-tension that produces droplets with high wettingangles, the previous generation of foliar fertilizers features medium surface-tension and wettingangle, which transforms into clearly convex droplets, very distinguishable on the leaf surface, and with relatively low penetration and imbibition rates (displacement of one fluid by another) within the sprayed leaves. Fertilizer 2.0 product, on the other hand, feature 31% reduction insurface-tension and in wettingangle, a "smear" pattern of leaf-surface wetting, and enhanced imbibition rate of the maize tissue.  All these parameters finally translate into marked enhancement of the effectiveness of the sprayed solution. It should be stressed that the newly introduced tensides are completely natural substances, polyols and starch-hydrolysis products by chemical nature, and hence, their environment footprint and toxicity are negligible. The aquatic toxicity of other ingredients of the final product is very small too, as follows (at 0,001% concentration in working solution): C12- Alkyl sulfates: 8.6 ppm; C14- Ethoxyladed alcohols: 0.2 ppm; Non-phenyl ethoxylates 13 ppm).

Table 1
Table 1

New release technology to increase accuracy in n supply

Leon TerlingenThe new E-Max coating announced in Warsaw by Dr. Leon Terlingen, Everris' Research Director, deals with an innovative nitrogen controlled-release technology which was recently introduced by Everris, part of the ICL group. By establishing this technology into a reliable working system, Everris now possesses three different release mechanisms, from which growers can select the one most suitable for his specific cultivation conditions. The other release mechanisms are a sophisticated polymer-coated urea and a resin-coated N-P-K. Dr. Terlingen presented the systematic development process that led to the final reliable E-Max Release Technology product. Everris shows that the E-Max Release Technology granule can accurately supply crops with their specific nitrogen requirement, matching the supply with their precise growth curves. It also proves that the new technology does so by an economical method from the grower's point of view, i.e. one application can supply the nitrogen consumption for the entire growth cycle. The polymer coating protects the urea core from being lost by leaching or volatilization (see figure 1). This, in turn, enables reducing of the applied rates to the actual requirement of the plants, and it simultaneously reduces the nitrogen foot-print on the environment. Dr. Terlingen detailed the methods by which E-Max Release Technology has been checked and validated, to produce the necessary release and release duration. Some important features of the new technology are: 

A) Relatively high nutrient content (43% N of the 2-3 months duration); 
B) Ability to coat several fertilizers types, e.g. hygroscopic materials, and irregular core structures; 
C) High performance stability even after harsh handling conditions, such as deleterious transportation conditions or bulk-blending in facilities that may reduce granules integrity of other products.

Figure 1
Prayon - Everris

Further to proving products' physical performance in the lab and in the field, Everris has tested E-Max products under a variety of crops in Europe and USA. Turf-fairways in Spain exhibited long-lasting greening effect, and potatoes in Florida, 2013, produced higher yield than current Growers' Practice (GP) that did not employ CRF technology, when equal N rates were applied. Furthermore, a 9% higher yield than GP has been obtained when the nitrogen was applied by an E-Max Release Technology product that supplied only 40% of the GP, (see figure 2). Similar results were obtained in a tomato field-trial in Florida. These results definitely illustrate the outstanding over-application, practiced nowadays in many parts of the world, and the big promise featured by the high nitrogen-use-efficiency, exemplified in Everris' advanced CRF technology. E-Max Release Technology is a component in the Everris brands Agromaster and Agrocote Max.

Figure 2
Figure 2 - Everris

Kurt VerhelstNew iron fertilizers based on phosphate knowledge

Prayon S.A. is a global leader in phosphate chemistry and its related products in many application fields. Prayon's extensive knowhow that accumulated throughout some 130 years of activity is the base of innovative products, offered to the specialty marketplaces. In his Warsaw presentation Dr. Kurt Verhelst, Senior Product Manager, has introduced Prayon's totally new and different model of enhancing iron availability to soilless-grown plants without using the normal chelates concept. One of the critical success factors for soilless culture is the possibility of making Fe-ions available for the plant by using Fe-chelates. Next to these organic compounds, Prayon has found a new product that is able to bind Fe-ions: Micronutri Fe, a new patented combination of Fepolyphosphates and Iron. Micronutri Fe, which has a formula of 0–42–48+2.8%Fe was developed and patented by Prayon as a powdery formulation. This new fertilizer was initially intended for use in substrate (soilless) grown crops only, in combination with standard nutrient solutions, but has shown surprisingly good results also with soil-grown tomatoes (field experiment in Spain). The main advantages of this new fertilizer are as follows: 

A) It is a fully-soluble (400 g/L @ 20°C), and pure fertilizer, extremely high in nutrients contents (92.8%) and containing nutrients only; 
B) low in sodium; 
C) Completely biodegradable;
D) Figure 3 - schemaThe entire iron contents is plantavailable and effective;
E) Due to its high UV transmission the product does not interfere with UV disinfection systems, commonly used in closed cycle fertigation, to avoid systemic microbial infections, nor does the iron complex break down due to the irradiation.

It is interesting to know that the high contents of polyphosphatephosphorus and potassium in this product become very quickly available to the plants. It is recommended to apply it in a fertigation system via a small separate ‘C-tank’. Once dissolved, the pH will be around 9, and no pH adjustments are needed to ensure its activity, as long as no other product with a different pH is introduced into this tank. Dr. Verhelst has provided a variety of experiment results to support the above statements regarding the effectiveness of this product. Experiments carried out in Wageningen WUR in 2012 with cucumbers, grown with iron-sulphate only as its Fe source, exhibited severe iron-chlorosis due to the precipitation of the iron as iron phosphate. Lesser chlorosis and higher Fe contents of the leaves were found when the plants were supplied with DTPAFe. But best results were obtained when the iron was supplied in the form of Micronutri Fe. Tip-burn disorder was checked too during these tests in Wageningen. Unlike the treatments with chelates, almost no tip-burn was observed when using Micronutri Fe. “It is clear that Micronutri Fe enables iron to be easily absorbed without interfering with other elements" stressed Dr. Verhelst, "This is another advantage of the product compared to chelates, which can interfere with the absorption of other nutrients e.g. calcium, which are still in the solution but are no longer absorbable by the plant”. Last but not least, cucumber yields were highest when the plants were nourished with Micronutri Fe. In 2013, tests were carried out on substrate-grown tomatoes and strawberries in Hoogstraten Research Centre (Belgium). Both sets of tests showed that plants could grow perfectly well without chelates, exhibiting higher iron rate in their leaves and greater fruit number. Further greenhouse experiments in Spain showed that Micronutri Fe works very well also for soilgrown tomatoes. According to Verhelst, extra advantages versus standard chelates are its reversibility and the increased effectiveness in combination with UV disinfection units. With fluctuating pH, Micronutri Fe makes the iron much quicker and more available for the plants when the pH is corrected. In UV disinfection units, the transmission is much better and significant less iron is not lost due to the UV disinfection.

Vivian liangControlled release technology for micronutrients

The development and application of Controlled Release Micronutrients was the topic covered by Mrs Vivian Liang, General Manager of the Chinese company LG Agro. The company has developed polymer coated EDTA products, called Supocote® Micronutrient. Four formulas are currently available: Zn-B-Fe 10-5-3, Cu-Zn-B 6-3-6, Cu-Zn-B 8-8-8 and Cu-Zn 8-4. Why use Controlled Release Micronutrients? The reasons are the same as for macronutrients: avoid waste, provide the micronutrient at the best time and improve the efficiency of the application. LG Agro indicates a 3-24 months longevity guarantee, influenced by temperature (on the basis of moisture). Not influenced by water retention, pH value, and microorganisms. Numerous field experiments have been conducted in China.


Source: New AG International