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Fertilizer Blocker

November 23, 2017

A soil additive keeps fertilizer on the farm and out of waterways.



Pollution-grabbing pellets.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Fertilizer runoff can find its way into the ocean, creating “dead zones”— areas where algae grows so densely it suffocates aquatic life. A company called Phospholutions, formed by former Penn State students, has developed a soil additive that prevents phosphorous — a key fertilizer ingredient — from leaching away. Benjamin Nason is Phospholution’s COO.

BENJAMIN NASON (Phospholutions Inc.):

And so it makes sure that it doesn’t run off into your waterways, and means you use your fertilizer more efficiently.


It’s called Rhizosorb and consists of phosphorous-binding minerals processed into porous white pellets that increase the minerals’ surface area. Nason says it allows farmers and homeowners to use less fertilizer, and encourages plants to grow deeper roots that sustain them through droughts. The idea is to help prevent dead zones without limiting agricultural activities.  I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon