The most commonly used fertilisers in agriculture are nitrogenous fertilisers.
Nitrogen (N) is a major element in plant nutrition, as it is the nutrient that makes up proteins, nucleic acids, amino acids and chlorophyll. Nitrogen (N) is therefore linked to the vegetative growth of plants.
According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations), nitrogen fertilisers account for almost 59% of the total world consumption of mineral fertilisers. The main nitrogen fertilisers used in agriculture are ammonium sulphate, ammonium nitrate, MAP, DAP and urea.
Urea is one of the most widely used nutrients in the world, however, it is also the nutrient that can have the highest nitrogen (N) losses before being absorbed by the crop. In turn, this and other sources of N can lead to contamination of aquifers and can be counterproductive when applied in excess.