Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are the most important nutrients for crop production. The N contributes to the structural component, generic, and metabolic compounds in a plant cell. N is mainly an essential part of chlorophyll, the compound in the plants that is responsible for photosynthesis process. The plant can get its available nitrogen from the soil by mineralizing organic materials, fixed-N by bacteria, and nitrogen can be released from plant as residue decay. Soil minerals do not release an enough amount of nitrogen to support plant; therefore, fertilizing is necessary for high production. Phosphorous contributes in the complex of the nucleic acid structure of plants. The nucleic acid is essential in protein synthesis regulation; therefore, P is important in cell division and development of new plant tissue. P is one of the 17 essential nutrients for plant growth and related to complex energy transformations in the plant. In the past, growth in production and productivity of crops relied heavily on high-dose application of N and P fertilizers. However, continue adding those chemical fertilizers over time has bad results in diminishing returns regarding no improvement in crop productivity. Applying high doses of chemical fertilizers is a major factor in the climate change in terms of nitrous oxide gas as one of the greenhouse gas and eutrophication that happens because of P pollution in water streams. This chapter speaks about N and P use efficiency and how they are necessary for plant and environment.
Part of the book: New Visions in Plant Science