ARS Seeks Partner for New Environmentally Friendly
Fertilizer By Kim
Kaplan December 13, 2006
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is seeking a company to license a new,
environmentally friendly, slow-release fertilizer for lawns, turf and other
This new fertilizer technology can significantly reduce the potential
for leaching of nutrients into groundwater, streams and rivers by as much 97
percent for phosphorus and 84 percent for nitrates in greenhouse studies.
Slow-release fertilizers currently on the market typically work by
applying a sulfur or polymer coating to fertilizer granules. The coating wears
away slowly, delaying the release of fertilizer. But once the coat is gone, the
remaining fertilizer becomes available in a fast cascade.
In contrast, the ARS slow-release system is based on ion exchange
mechanisms that more closely mimic natural soil processes, which gives the new
technology a more consistent release over time.
ARS is seeking a cooperative business partner to license the
technology and develop it into commercial productsespecially one for use
on lawns and turf, which tend to be major contributors to nutrient runoff and
The fertilizer system also can be used on almost any crop and could be
customized to the specific needs of a crop throughout its life cycle, according
E. Sojka, director of the ARS
Irrigation and Soils Research Laboratory in Kimberly Idaho, and former ARS
soil microbiologist James A. Entry.
For further details about the new technology, please visit
For ARS licensing information, visit
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.