Use of urease inhibitors to reduce ammonia volatilization in Amazonian soils

Abstract: The objective of this work was to evaluate urease inhibitors for the reduction of ammonia volatilization in Amazonian soils. The work was carried out on a clayey yellow Oxisol, a clayey red Oxisol, and on a light silty Ultisol. Each experiment was conducted in split plots, using standard urea, urea + a benzimidazole-type urease inhibitor (BZI1), urea + a benzoylthiourea-type urease inhibitor (RTB68), urea + N-(n-butyl) triamide thiophosphate (NBPT), or a fertilizer-free control. Volatilized ammonia was collected at 48, 96, 144, 192, 240, 288, 336, and 384 hours after fertilization. Ammonia volatilization reached a maximum at 144 hours in the urea, urea + benzimidazole, and urea + benzoylthiourea treatments. A peak level was reached at 192 and 288 hours in the urea + N-(n-butyl) triamide thiophosphate treatment. In yellow Oxisols, benzimidazole and benzoylthiourea reduced the ammonia losses by 22 and 10%, respectively, in soils without urease inhibitors. However, neither of these agents significantly reduced ammonia volatilization at the rate determined for standard urea in red Oxisols or Ultisols. N-(n-butyl) triamide thiophosphate is the most efficient urease inhibitor for the soils of southwestern Amazonia.