Preparation, forms and properties of controlled-release phosphate fertilizers

N. S. Bolan, M. J. Hedley, P. Loganathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Controlled-release phosphate fertilizers include phosphate rocks (PRs) for direct application, partially acidulated phosphate rocks (PAPRs) and thermal phosphates. Phosphate rocks contain apatite as the main P containing mineral, the composition and the chemical nature of which vary between PRs. Based on the solubility in chemical extractants PRs are broadly grouped into 'reactive' and 'unreactive'. The 'reactivity' of PRs is influenced strongly by the extent of carbonate substitution for phosphate in the apatite minerals. Under certain soil and climatic conditions reactive PRs (RPRs) can be used as a source of P for direct application. Partially acidulated phosphate rocks (PAPRs) are produced either by direct partial acidulation of PRs with mineral acids or by mixing PRs with fully acidulated superphosphate reaction mixtures. Partial acidulation of PRs with H3PO4 generally results in higher water soluble P contents than those acidulated with H2SO4. Mixing of RPRs with superphosphate reaction mixtures sometimes results in the preferential consumption of free acid and thereby increases the amounts of residual unreacted PRs. Thermal phosphates are produced by either heating PRs below melting point both in the presence and the absence of silica (calcined phosphates) or heating PRs with silica above melting point (fused phosphate). These phosphates are alkaline in nature and hence suitable for acidic soils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-24
Number of pages12
JournalFertilizer Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1993
Externally publishedYes


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