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Smart Fertilizers for Better Root Growth and Cleaner Water

We have developed a novel fertilizer technology that provides continuous, optimal levels of phosphorus to plant roots based on actual plant phosphorus requirements, while greatly reducing phosphorus leaching into the environment. Plants grown using this alumina-buffered phosphorus fertilizer are of equal or better quality than conventionally grown plants and have improved tolerance to drought stress. Leaching of phosphorus is drastically reduced, especially compared with use of soluble fertilizers, but even compared with slow release fertilizers such as Osmocote. Thus, the two major benefits are improved plant quality and reduced pollution. Several publications document the utility of this technology in several major horticultural production systems, including greenhouse ornamental production, bedding plant production, vegetable transplant production, nursery ornamental production, and field cutting production. Research is currently in progress to evaluate the utility of this technology in field vegetable production in Pennsylvania, supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. The technology is being used commercially in Europe but is not yet being used in the United States.