Sep 28, 2016

Nitrogen fertilizer is a compound that is added to plants to stimulate growth. The nitrogen stimulates chloroplasts in plants, which are responsible for the process of photosynthesis. Plants that do not have enough nitrogen will turn yellow and eventually perish from a lack of food.

There are two common forms of nitrogen used for plant growth.

The first is natural nitrogen, which is found in decaying plant or animal matter. This is why compost is used on plants — the manure and other material in it releases nitrogen into the soil. Natural nitrogen takes long time to decompose by the microorganisms in the soil into nitrogen  that can be absorbed by a plant than either commercially synthesized form, but does not have any risks.

The second form of nitrogen fertilizer available is commercially synthesized. In this case, the nitrogen is present in the form of ammonium or nitrate or carbamide.

Ammoniacal-based fertilizers bond securely with soil, but release their nitrogen slowly into a plant. Those based around nitrates are quickly absorbed by a plant, but can be easily washed away by water in a process known as leaching.

Properly applying nitrogen fertilizer is important. Too much will kill a plant as surely as too little.  This can prevent the nitrogen from burning the plant, or making it leaf yellow and brittle.

Improper application of commercial fertilizer can lead to groundwater contamination. The widespread use of commercial nitrogen fertilizer is now a serious environmental concern as contaminated runoff water has begun to adversely affect sea plants around the world. Extra nitrogen present in the water has caused unrestrained algae growth in some bodies of water, which then results in massive algae death and decay. This happens because, as water in the immediate area is depleted of oxygen, the algae die. subsequently, this kills large amounts of animal life that need it for food.