Professor patents liquid organic fertilizer
Even in the harsh region of central Asia, necessity is the mother of invention. It was the needs of farmers in the rugged, impoverished area that inspired a New Mexico State University professor to develop an easily transportable, easy-to-apply fertilizer that could lead to long-term gains for growers the world over.
Zohrab Samani, a professor in the NMSU College of Engineering’s civil engineering department, developed a concept for liquid fertilizer while doing volunteer work in 2000 in the Republic of Tajikistan.
“This was just after the civil war in that country, and I was quite distressed with the situation of the farmers who could not afford to buy synthetic fertilizer for their small vegetable plots,” Samani said. “It occurred to me that the waste from the large vegetable market in the nearby town of Dushanbe could be used to generate fertilizer.”
“The experiment in the greenhouse showed that the liquid organic fertilizer could increase the yield of green chile, especially in saline soil,” Samani said. “It clearly showed that the fertilizer could increase the chile yield under all conditions, and the results were especially pronounced in soil with a high salinity.”
Samani and his students kept working, and they developed ways to concentrate the mixture, via cooking it in an oven and through solarization, accomplished by placing the fertilizer in a container, covering it with vented, clear plastic and leaving it in the sun for a few days. Concentrated, the fertilizer’s makeup is nutrient-rich liquid, at 6.35 percent nitrogen.