Fertilizer (or fertiliser) is any material of natural or synthetic origin (other than liming materials) that is applied to soils or to plant tissues (usually leaves) to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. Conservative estimates report 30 to 50% of crop yields are attributed to natural or synthetic commercial fertilizer.Global market value is likely to rise to more than US$185 billion until 2019.The European fertilizer market will grow to earn revenues of approx. €15.3 billion in 2018.
The history of fertilizer has largely shaped political, economic, and social circumstances in their traditional uses.Subsequently,there has been a radical reshaping of environmental conditions following the development of chemically synthesized fertilizers.
Egyptians, Romans, Babylonians, and early Germans all are recorded as using minerals and or manure to enhance the productivity of their farms. The use of wood ash as a field treatment became widespread. In the 1800s Humboldt recommended the use of guano.
Justus von Liebig
Chemist Justus von Liebig (1803-1873) contributed greatly to the advancement in the understanding of plant nutrition. His influential works first denounced the vitalist theory of humus, arguing first the importance of ammonia, and later promoting the importance of inorganic minerals to plant nutrition. Primarily Liebig's work succeeded in exposition of questions for agricultural science to address over the next 50 years.
In England, he attempted to implement his theories commercially through a fertilizer created by treating phosphate of lime in bone meal with sulfuric acid.Although it was much less expensive than the guano that was used at the time, it failed because it was not able to be properly absorbed by crops.