The fertilizer of urea, also known as carbamide, is the most important nitrogen-containing fertilizer. It is a crystalline organic chemical compound white containing about 46 percent nitrogen. It is a natural waste formed by the metabolism of proteins in humans and other mammals, amphibians and some fishes.Synthetic urea is produced commercially from ammonia and carbon dioxide. It is widely used in agriculture, both as fertilizer and animal feed additive, which makes its production is considerably high compared to other fertilizers. In the United States, approximately one million pounds (454,000 kg) of urea is produced each year.
Urea was discovered by a French scientist named Hillaire Rouelle in 1773. But synthetic urea was first produced in 1828, about 55 years after its discovery. Currently, it is industrially produced by dehydration of ammonium carbamate in a process involving high temperature and pressure. Typically, a high pressure reactor, into which these reactions are carried out is used.
The urea has the highest nitrogen content equal to 46 percent. This percentage is much higher than nitrogen available in the market in other fertilizers. The cost of production is relatively low, since the carbon dioxide necessary for its manufacture is obtained from the raw naphtha. The urea does not cause fires or explosions, and therefore there is no risk in storage. It can be used for all types of crops and soils. After their uptake by plants, leaves behind only carbon dioxide in the soil through the interaction of nitrifying bacteria. This carbon dioxide is not harmful to the soil.