New study shows nitrogen fertilizers have long-lasting effects on groundwater

Oct. 24, 2013

CALGARY, Alberta — The study found that nitrogen from fertilizer remains in soil for more than 50 years.

CALGARY, Alberta — Scientists from France and the University of Calgary have found that nitrogen fertilizers applied to crops will linger in the soil and leak into groundwater as nitrate for decades, which is longer than previously thought, according to an article from AG Professional.

The study, entitled "Long-term fate of nitrate fertilizer in agricultural soils," was led by Mathieu Sebilo at the Université Pierre et Marie Currie in Paris and Bernhard Mayer in the University of Calgary's Department of Geoscience, the article reported.

According to the article, about 15 percent of the fertilizer nitrogen still remained in soil organic matter 30 years after synthetic nitrogen fertilizer had been applied in 1982.

After 30 years, 10 percent of the fertilizer nitrogen had seeped through the soil toward the groundwater, and it will continue to leak for at least another 50 years in low amounts, the article continued.

Read the full article here.