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Unlocking the multiple public good services from balanced fertilizers

Bindraban, PremS., Dimkpa, ChristianO., Angle, Scott, Rabbinge, Rudy
Food security 2018 v.10 no.2 pp. 273-285
NPK fertilizers, abiotic stress, biocides, crops, global change, human nutrition, issues and policy, metabolites, mineral fertilizers, nongovernmental organizations, nutritive value, research and development, shelf life, sustainable development, taste
Fertilizers produce over half of the world’s food and permit less encroachment into pristine lands. Yet, the low uptake efficiency by crop plants causes nutrient losses that drive global change. Mitigating measures have been insufficient to address the problems, and policy interventions, NGO involvement, and R&D investments have been too insignificant to transform the fertilizer sector. Here, we discuss the contribution of balanced mineral fertilizers to increasing the nutritional value of crop produce to improve human nutrition and health; healthier plants to reduce biocide use; plant robustness to enhance tolerance to abiotic stresses; and increased metabolite production to improve taste and shelf-life. We reflect on raising awareness about these multiple fertilizer-based public good services for realizing several Sustainable Development Goals which can be achieved through a comprehensive nutrient assessment to catalyze transformation in research, policy and industry.