3 Main Nutrients in commercial Fertilizers

Photo from istock, fertilizers

In commercial fertilizers, the “Big 3” primary nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, or NPK. These essential elements each have a significant impact on plant nutrition.

Since the development of chemical fertilizers as a medium for nutrients, agricultural productivity has increased significantly. That is the reason farmers use fertilizers casually. Through soil and surface water substances, numerous chemicals that drain into the groundwater contaminate it.

In India, the agricultural sector contributes roughly 22% of the country’s GDP. 82 percent of the total nitrogen consumed is urea, while 63 percent of the phosphate consumed is di- ammonium phosphate. The Indian government sets minimum support prices for major crops. Regulates urea’s agricultural price, and sets tentative selling prices for other fertilizers. Fertilizer costs are reduced through subsidies.

This characteristic of micronutrients may result from the soil’s medium alkali content. Studies on the region’s groundwater have revealed rising levels of alkalinity, nitrates, and other fertilizer and pesticide residues. Growing soil contamination poses a threat to the quality of the groundwater, which must be addressed by applying organic manure as fertilizer and regulating the amount of water used.

3 main nutrients in commercial fertilizers are as follows:

  • NITROGEN among fertilizers

Plants absorb nitrogen more readily than any other element, making it the most significant nutrient. Making assured that plants are healthy while they grow. Nutritious to consume once they are harvested requires nitrogen. Because protein comprises up a large portion of the tissues of most living things, nitrogen is necessary for the production of protein.

Additionally, nitrogen is a part of the chlorophyll molecule, which helps plants use photosynthesis to absorb sunlight energy. Promoting crop production and crop yield. To maintain that energy is available when and where the plant needs it to enhance output, nitrogen plays a crucial role within the plant.

A vital macronutrient for plants, nitrogen is also a crucial component of amino acids, which serve as the building blocks for enzymes and proteins in plants. All living things are made of proteins, and enzymes help with the enormous variety of biochemical processes that take place within a plant. Even the roots contain this essential vitamin because proteins and enzymes control water and nutrient intake.

 Here is a photo of nitrogen-deficient corn:

Fertilizers (Photo from https://www.tfi.org/)


The second important nutrient in commercial fertilizers is potassium. It has a significant function in boosting agricultural yields and improving crop quality. It also aids in strengthening plants’ and enhancing disease resistance. Additionally, potassium safeguards the plant by increasing its root system and preventing withering in cold or dry weather.

In plant tissue, potassium is involved in the flow of water, minerals, and carbohydrates. It has a role in the plant’s enzyme activation, which has an impact on the synthesis of protein, starch, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The rate of photosynthesis can be controlled by ATP synthesis.

Additionally, potassium aids in controlling the stomata’s opening and shutting, which controls the exchange of water vapors, oxygen, and carbon dioxide.

As plants absorb a lot of potassium throughout their life cycle, it is categorized as a macronutrient. Lack of potassium or inadequate potassium supply will limit plant growth and lower yield.

Potassium helps annual crops like alfalfa maintain their step through the winter. The amount of oxygen and soil nutrients, soil temperature, crop rotation, and soil moisture all have an impact on the quantity of potassium plants are able to absorb.

A photo of low-potassium corn can be found below:

Fertilizers (Photo from https://www.tfi.org/)


  • PHOSPHORUS among fertilizers

Phosphorus, the third element in the “Big 3,” is related to a plant’s capacity for utilizing and storing energy, including photosynthesis. In order for plants to develop and grow properly, it is also very essential.

Phosphorus from phosphate rock is used in industrial fertilizers. It is an important nutrient needed for plant growth. After nitrogen, it is the macronutrient that is most sparse (N). Plant maturity is delayed and yields are decreased by inadequate phosphorus feeding.

Phosphorus plays a crucial role in plants’ ability to absorb, store, and transform solar energy into biomolecules like adenosine triphosphate (ATP). And that acts as a fuel in biological reactions like photosynthesis in seed to mature grain.

A crucial part of DNA, the genetic “memory unit” of all living organisms, contains phosphorus. It is also a part of RNA, which reads DNA’s genetic code to create proteins and other substances necessary for plant structure, seed production, and genetic transmission. Phosphorus bonds bind the DNA and RNA structures to one another.

Because all of its parts are fully developed and grow swiftly, plants that have access to enough phosphorus are able to fend off illnesses. Hydroponically grown plants are given adequate phosphorus to promote good growth.

Through their roots, legumes assist in fixing nitrogen in the soil. Without phosphorous, which promotes the growth of the roots, this function cannot be carried out effectively. Phosphorus is therefore crucial for the general well-being and vitality of all plants.

 Here is a photo of phosphorus-deficient corn:

Fertilizers (Photo from https://www.tfi.org/)



The cultivated agriculture on earth is what sustains and grows humanity. Fertilizer is essential to the growth of plants, which offer a variety of benefits including food, fiber, shelter, and many others. More fertilizers will be required than ever to increase crop productivity. In order to feed and maintain the health of the global population, which is predicted to reach 9 billion by the year 2050.

To reach their full genetic potential, developing plants require 17 key components. The remaining three of these 17 are obtained via air and water, while the remaining 14 are absorbed by plants through the soil.

Through decades of research, scientists have learned how to measure the amount of nutrients in soil, how plants absorb them, and the best ways to replenish those nutrients after harvest. Fertilizer fulfills that role.

In commercial fertilizers, the “Big 3” primary nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, or NPK. These essential elements all have a significant impact on plant nutrition.



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