Production and uses of NPK fertilisers


  • Compounds of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are used as fertilisers to improve agricultural productivity. NPK fertilisers contain compounds of all three elements.

Industrial production of NPK fertilisers can be achieved using a variety of raw materials in several integrated processes. NPK fertilisers are formulations of various salts containing appropriate percentages of the elements.

Ammonia can be used to manufacture ammonium salts and nitric acid.

Potassium chloride, potassium sulfate and phosphate rock are obtained by mining, but phosphate rock cannot be used directly as a fertiliser.

Phosphate rock is treated with nitric acid or sulfuric acid to produce soluble salts that can be used as fertilisers.

Students should be able to:

recall the names of the salts produced when phosphate rock is treated with nitric acid, sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid

compare the industrial production of fertilisers with laboratory preparations of the same compounds, given appropriate information.

AT 4Safe use of a range of equipment to purify and/or separate chemical mixtures including evaporation, filtration, crystallisation, chromatography and distillation (links to A-level AT d and g).