With the large and growing population, food sources are increasingly more important. In order to increase the crop yield, fertilizers are used. These fertilizers can come in two forms, inorganic and organic. Also, though these fertilizers may help the human race increase food supply, fertilizer, in excess, can damage the natural environment, killing other organisms. Fertilizer is comprised of three major macronutrients and whether it is organic or inorganic, it can have negative effects on the environment.
Fertilizers play a major role in increasing the yield of a crop. Both organic and inorganic fertilizers supplement a plant’s nutrient source with macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium as well as some micronutrients such as boron, copper, and chloride. These nutrients are all directly affected by the pH of the soil. Certain nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus can only be absorbed by a plant in a higher pH level. Nutrients such as boron and copper can only be absorbed in a lower pH level. A balanced soil will provide the optimum benefits of each nutrient (“Plant Nutrients”, n.d.).
Inorganic fertilizers, or chemical fertilizers, are all the fertilizers that have been synthesized in a factory to create a completely balanced nutrient source (Blessington, n.d.). In chemical fertilizers, nutrients are available to the plant upon fertilization. In the laboratory where the fertilizer is made, nutrients have already undergone any chemical changes needed so that the plant can absorb it. Nutrients are measured exactly in inorganic fertilizers. Excess nutrients can cause health problems with the plants, and too small of an amount would be ineffective. Unfortunately, chemical fertilizers are also easily washed away by rain water, or, if too close to the plant, could cause the plant “to burn” due to high concentrations. To “burn” a plant is “a process of desiccation by the chemical salts in the fertilizer” (Williams, n.d.). In other words, the chemical fertilizer causes the plants cells to die due to dehydration. Excess fertilizer may lead to a toxic concentration of nutrients (Williams, n.d.).
Organic fertilizers are those fertilizers composed of materials found in nature. This includes bone meal, fish emulsion, and cotton seed meal. Organic fertilizers release nutrients slowly and only do so when the temperature is best for growing. This could lead to a decrease in the runoff of fertilizer into a nearby water source. After many years of use, organic fertilizers may even benefit the overall quality of the soil. It may lead to an “increase in the efficiency of nutrient utilization” (Blessington, n.d.). As with any fertilizer, organic fertilizer has some disadvantages. If a plant is in need of immediate care and supply of nutrients, a slow releasing organic fertilizer is not the best option. Though the amount of runoff is decreased, organic fertilizer can still lead to some deposits of fertilizer into natural habitats....