Urease and nitrification inhibitors (Theme 2)
Lead investigator: Prof. Uta Wille
Team: A/Prof. Helen Suter, Dr Shu Kee Lam, Dr Joses Nathanael & Prof. Deli Chen.
This project is aimed at the design and synthesis of new compounds that enable inhibition of urease and ammonia monooxygenase (AMO) to overcome the problems with the current commercially available urease and nitrification inhibitors, such as low stability, difficult handling and highly variable performance. Inhibitors are chemical compounds designed to slow down conversion of urea to ammonia by the soil microbial enzyme urease (urease inhibitors) or the microbial autotrophic oxidation of ammonium to nitrite and nitrate (nitrification inhibitors). By performing systematic structure-activity relationship studies, new inhibitors will be developed that are tailored to the conditions of intensive agriculture, at the same time ensuring that eventual degradation in the soil will lead to environmentally non-problematic products. An important aspect of this project will be the chemical compatibility of the urease and nitrification inhibitors to facilitate fertiliser formulation where both inhibitors are required. This team will work with Theme 1 – Fertilisers with engineered coatings – to develop new classes of urease and nitrification inhibitors for use with new fertilisers coatings and with conventional coated or granular fertilisers, and with Theme 3 – Microbiome interactions– gain better understanding of the impact of fertilizers and inhibitors on the microbiological processes in soils.