Controlled release fertilizers: A review on coating materials and mechanism of release

Dora Lawrencia, See Kiat Wong, Darren Yi Sern Low, Bey Hing Goh, Joo Kheng Goh, Uracha Rungsardthong Ruktanonchai, Apinan Soottitantawat, Learn Han Lee, Siah Ying Tang

Research output: Journal PublicationReview articlepeer-review

216 Citations (Scopus)


Rising world population is expected to increase the demand for nitrogen fertilizers to improve crop yield and ensure food security. With existing challenges on low nutrient use efficiency (NUE) of urea and its environmental concerns, controlled release fertilizers (CRFs) have become a potential solution by formulating them to synchronize nutrient release according to the requirement of plants. However, the most significant challenge that persists is the “tailing” effect, which reduces the economic benefits in terms of maximum fertilizer utilization. High materials cost is also a significant obstacle restraining the widespread application of CRF in agriculture. The first part of this review covers issues related to the application of conventional fertilizer and CRFs in general. In the subsequent sections, different raw materials utilized to form CRFs, focusing on inorganic and organic materials and synthetic and natural polymers alongside their physical and chemical preparation methods, are compared. Important factors affecting rate of release, mechanism of release and mathematical modelling approaches to predict nutrient release are also discussed. This review aims to provide a better overview of the developments regarding CRFs in the past ten years, and trends are identified and analyzed to provide an insight for future works in the field of agriculture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number238
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Coating materials
  • Controlled release fertilizer
  • Mechanism
  • Nutrients
  • Release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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