Calcium phosphate nanocomposites for improving nutrient use efficiency and crop yield and reducing loss

Principal investigator: Michele Iafisco

Involved Personnel: Alessio Adamiano, Salem Ghribi

Starting date: 01/06/2023
Duration: 48 months
Total Funding: 748.845 $
Call/Action: USDA-NIFA-AFRI-009003
CNR-ISSMC role: Subcontract
Coordinator: Deb Jaisi (University of Delaware)
Consortium: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italia); University of Delaware (USA); The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (USA).

Large-scale agriculture in the wake of the Green Revolution has relied heavily on synthetic fertilizers that can provide nutrients for high-yield crop production. Most used commercial fertilizers are water-soluble and release P quickly; thus, they do not synchronize with or match the gradual increase in P requirement for crops. This means that plants rely on soil to hold the released P until needed. This project aims to develop a novel nanocomposite consisting of a mixture of amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) and crystalline calcium phosphate (CCP) in the form of hydroxyapatite nanoparticles (HANPs) using P from agricultural wastes, particularly animal bones and manures, and to develop a mechanistic relationship of chemical composition and structure with function (P release characteristics) as the scientific basis for the development and optimization of a novel ‘intelligent’ nano-fertilizer. The mixture of amorphous and crystalline calcium phosphate (ACCP) nanocomposite is an ‘intelligent’ plant-responsive fertilizer in which chemical signaling from plant roots and/or microbes, such as through exuded siderophores or organic acids, triggers dissolution and thus modulates the efficiency of nutrient delivery to crops.

Publications and patents

• Citrate-Stabilized Amorphous Calcium Phosphate Nanoparticles Doped with Micronutrients as a Highly Efficient Nanofertilizer for Environmental Sustainability. Yuriy Sakhno, Lorenzo Degli Esposti, Alessio Adamiano, Jaya Borgatta, Meghan Cahill, Shital Vaidya, Jason C. White, Michele Iafisco, Deb P. Jaisi. ACS Agricultural Science & Technology, 2023, 3, 10, 845–854.