When urea is applied, urease (a naturally occurring enzyme) breaks the urea molecule into two molecules of ammonia. This process is called hydrolysis.
When this occurs on the soil surface some of the ammonia that is formed can be lost to the atmosphere as a gas in a process called volatilisation.
Australian research has shown that the level of ammonia loss from surface-applied urea can vary significantly.
The loss is influenced by a number of factors such as soil moisture and weather conditions immediately following application of the urea. In order for the urea to be fully protected from ammonia volatilisation loss, the urea needs to be moved into the soil to a depth of greater than 50mm.
The effectivness of AGROTAIN® nitrogen stabiliser is well documented and has been shown to be highly effective in reducing N loss to volatilisation via the process of “competitive inhibition”.
During this process the urease inhibitor in AGROTAIN® nitrogen stabiliser temporarily blocks the enzyme pathway that unlocks the urea molecule. This process effectively protects urea and significantly increases the chance of it being moved into the soil.