Optimizing crop production while minimizing environmental nutrient losses using struvite: An assessment of different mixtures of readily soluble fertilizers and less soluble struvite phosphorus recovered from wastewater
Agricultural runoff transports nutrients such as phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) that act as environmental pollutants in fresh and coastal marine ecosystems. Both chemical fertilizers and animal manure release substantial P and N to runoff and leaching despite current conservation efforts. While recent research has shown that struvite could be a viable P supplement for inorganic fertilizers, it is unclear if and how this may impact environmental losses. The proposed study will determine appropriate combinations of struvite and chemical fertilizer required to maintain optimal crop yields and quality with minimal nutrient leaching. For this study, the intern will partner with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies. Ostara commercially produces a struvite-based fertilizer, Crystal Green®. Crystal Green® is registered as a fertilizer in the USA and Canada. This study's findings will benefit Ostara by elevating their understanding of struvite and soil and water chemistry interaction, which have implications on crop yields and fertilizer economic efficiency. By understanding how struvite fertilizers alter phosphate runoff and leaching from crop fields, Ostara, government, and the researchers can continue to advise growers on how to continue reducing edge-of-field P losses.